Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WEDNESDAYS WEEKLY WORD...working with purpose

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon gives us a picture of the lazy life (Prov. 24:30-34), if I could give a description of this passage it would go something like this:

"I went to the house of the slacker, and his gutters were falling off the house. His driveway was filled with weeds as high as my waist. And someone had written in the dirt on the back window of his car: 'Wash Me!' "

The picture I paint of the lazy life is an extreme view, but not far off the mark. Laziness means we are not taking work seriously because of a lack of purpose. Laziness opposes the very nature of humankind, we were made to work as in the Garden of Eden.

GENESIS 2:15 "The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it."

Many believe that the fall of Adam and Eve brought the curse of working, quite the contrary, the curse was not that we would have to work but the curse was that working would become difficult. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, work became full of frustrations. Yet, even in a world filled with dead ends and disappointments, our true glory can shine through our work. We should all work with a purpose in mind.

Do you work with someone who is a "slacker". Someone who instead of working diligently, complains that they have not been given a fair shake.

  • They want respect.
  • They want a promotion.
  • They want job security.
But, somehow they just cannot find it because instead of working they spend all of their time talking about how unfair their boss is and how they deserve better.

PROVERBS 13:4 "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."

Those who work skillfully and efficiently have a purpose. Hard work without a plan can be wasted effort. Proverbs says that when you build a house, first prepare the ground and the field where you will plant your crop. (Prov. 24:27) In other words, have your future sustainable and your preparations made before you worry about comfort.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked my readers the following question: "How would the person closest to you describe you?" The top 3 responses were:

1. 46% of those voting said they would be described as a WEB-AHOLIC.
2. 26% said they would be described as WORK-AHOLICS.
3. 13% voted and said they would be described as a FRIEND-AHOLIC.

Many of us would describe ourselves as WORKAHOLICS. Here are 2 kinds of people who fall into this category of being a workaholic:

First, there are people who work long hours and spend very little time with family, missing out on enjoying life. Yet, during working hours - they are unorganized and easily distracted. Chatting with co-workers combined with their lack of organization and efficiency causes them to not get their 8 hours of work done in 8 hours. Therefore they have to work longer, (not necessarily harder). Working longer hours will make it seem like they are a workaholic.

The second type of a workaholic person would be those people who work extremely hard but spend little time thinking about their careers. They do not take advantage of a little training or even moving to another company that may benefit their career. These type of workaholics find it easier to keep things the way they are. They work hard but get nowhere. This type of person will work far harder and get less results without a plan.

Working hard (or not working hard) is an attitude. For the lazy worker - it is an attitude. The lazy worker has a motto and it goes like this: "if it ain't broke, why fix it?" Solomon speaks about this attitude in the book of Proverbs.

PROVERBS 12:27 "The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man's precious possession."

Solomon is telling us that hard workers take care of their possessions. They put extra effort in keeping their tools sharp, their homes repaired and their future bright. The attitude of laziness and cutting corners is a thorn.

Working hard and patience usually bring good things to life. God would not want our total focus to be on success or wealth, but, there is a warning that we should heed as workers that God does not desire for us to be lazy.

It is possible to be lazy in many areas of our life, not just at the workplace. It is not wise to work hard at the office but let the house fall apart or it is not wise to keep up with the house and finances but ignore our family and friends. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon is telling us to be diligent in ALL that we do. Diligence is not just sweat and hard work, it is also balancing and prioritizing with a purpose in mind.

Tony was sitting in the local Starbucks, drinking a coffee and studying for his sermon later that week. Behind the counter, sat the clerk on a stool. She was deep in the book she was reading. The stool faced the corner, with her back to the front door - she did not notice the young lady that came in. She continued to read her book while yet another customer came in. They did not want to interrupt her reading but how could they get her attention. The young lady tried to do a not-so-obvious cough to get the clerks attention. No prevail. In through the door came a third person, who called out , "I'm here for an interview". Finally, a head bobbed up from the book. As the two of them made their way over to the table next to Tony's, Tony noticed the tag on the lady who was so engrossed in her book, it said "Manager". Tony could not help but overhear the conversation that transpired as the Manager interviewed the candidate:

"Working here can be very busy at times. You will have 4 or 5 customers at the counter at one time, you have to be quick on your feet and always ready to serve the customer."

As leaders, we cannot expect people to do things that we will not do first. Our God-given visions for the people we lead will be meaningless if we don't lead by example. Let's take ownership of the vision that we communicate to others and show it by the way we live. If our vision is evidenced by who we are, who we're becoming, and what we're doing, then others will be much more likely to follow. They will follow more joyfully and more diligently!

I am studying the book of PROVERBS, and this is my Mid Week devotion. It is my prayer that you will be challenged by the Word of God today. If you feel like it is difficult to stay focused on your purpose (or vision) - try making a chart and list all the areas of your life such as family, friends, work, church, recreation - write down the amount of time you spend in each category. After reviewing where you spend your time, ask God to help you to find balance in your life.

Please take time to vote in this week's poll. It is located on the side bar of this blog. YOUR OPINION MATTERS!

No comments: