by Geoff Wiklund - Every year I read the Bible through, choosing a different translation each time to get a new perspective. This year I am reading the New Living Translation. In my devotional reading I was struck by this verse in Proverbs, chapter 12 and verse 24:
“Work hard and become a leader;
be lazy and become a slave.”
Of course the mind leaps to a number of people you think fit into the lazy category! Whether we have natural leadership attributes or not, the Bible clearly says we should work hard.
Good Work Ethic: I thank God that my dad gave me a good work ethic although I probably didn’t always appreciate it at the time.
I got my first job as a 15-year-old working for a company that had the contract to dig and bury the phone cable to Waiuku, Franklin County. I worked a long weekend. The job had to be finished on the Monday or they faced penalties. I shovelled all day until the blisters on my hands burst and bled. But I turned up the next day. They weren’t expecting me because they knew how uncomfortable I must be. They were a bit kinder to me that day fortunately. We got the job done and before long the boss came to our door and asked to see my dad. He told dad that they were paying me a man’s wages because I did a man’s work. He also said I was getting time and a half for Saturday and double time for Sunday and the holiday Monday because I worked so hard. I learnt early that if you worked hard you were rewarded.
This is backed up with other scriptures. Proverbs 21:5 says,
“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,
but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Word in Season: This also confirmed what I felt the Lord was saying for our nation at the moment. The word I received was that we should,
- Plan and Prioritise
- Seize our Opportunities
So my wife and I have been putting that into practice. As a result of something Stuart Gaze spoke about at a Marriage Weekend, we have an AGM (annual general meeting) at the beginning of every year. It’s a time to set goals in all areas from finances, to planning holidays, to bettering our relationship. We take notes to check up on later. I laughed when he first mentioned this, feeling it was a bit ‘formal’, but now I recommend it to everyone. This year we talked about things that are a priority. Putting in the effort and time to talk has changed our plans for the end of the year, putting us on track to better accomplish God’s will for us.
Your AGM’s can become real game-changers for the future. They give you certainties; goals that you can head for. They change ‘aimless’ into ‘aims’. For example, we discuss: How much are we going to save and for what purposes? What do we owe? How can we reduce that? What causes or needs are we going to give to and why? When will we take a holiday? As soon as you get some order and priorities into your life and start saving towards them, then you are on your way out of slavery – you are working hard, you’re taking a lead in your life.
Planning: When we fail to work and plan, we do become ‘the tail’, not the ‘head’. We tend to carry on in the same monotony with no avenues of escape. We stay as ‘slaves’ to the bank and to the boss. I am really saddened when I see people who have failed to factor in future possibilities such as the birth of a child, or major expenses such as houses, cars, health etc. which forces them and their spouse to go back to work. Having a plan governs what you spend today because you know what you’re saving towards tomorrow.
Look out for opportunities that will come your way. Don’t grab everything, but check it out thoroughly – will it do you some future good? What are the risks if you go ahead? Who can you ask who has some knowledge of the opportunity?
Solomon said, “…time and chance happen to us all…” Be opportunity aware. Saving and working hard puts you in a better position to take opportunities when they arrive. Make a good choice today. I bless you with wisdom to move forward.
Geoff Wiklund is a popular PK speaker and itinerant preacher who brings a message of hope, love and encouragement.