The Wisdom of God and Work | Sermon By J. Josh Smith
Instead of putting our Bibles down to think about work, the Proverbs call us to pick up our Bibles to think about work. The emphasis that the book of Proverbs puts on the issue of work proves that our work matters to God. No matter if our primary work is that of a teacher, doctor, Realtor, homemaker, or construction worker, God cares about the way we work. In Proverbs 13:4 we are introduced to two very colorful characters that highlight the wisdom of God and work.
Work Matters (Laying a Theological Foundation)
Before getting into what the book of Proverbs says about work, it is important to lay a theological foundation for work.
1. We were created to work (Gen. 1–3). Work is not a result of the curse. Work is one of the ways in which we manifest the image of God.
2. The curse distorted work. The curse caused some to make work an idol and some to neglect to work.
3. Work is a calling God has placed on our lives. Our work is part of God’s call on our lives used as a means to glorify Him.
Diligent vs. Sluggard
Proverbs shows us how we can put God in the center of our work. The primary way the book of Proverbs teaches us about work is by showing us the contrast between the sluggard and the diligent. Every time we see a verse with one of these two characters, it is telling us something about the wisdom of God for work. Proverbs 13:4 is a great place to start.
Plans vs. Dreams
The diligent thinks carefully about his work while the sluggard only dreams.
1. The diligent plans (Prov. 10:5; 21:5).
2. The sluggard talks (Prov. 14:23; 21:25).
Initiative vs. Excuses
1. The diligent makes progress (Prov. 6:6–11; 14:23).
2. The sluggard makes excuses (Prov. 6:9–10; 22:13).
Finisher vs. Starter
1. The diligent finishes his work (Prov. 12:11; 27:18).
2. The sluggard never follows through (Prov. 12:27; 19:24).
Ambition vs. Carelessness
1. The diligent plans to succeed (Prov. 22:29).
2. The sluggard fails to plan (Prov. 10:4; 13:4; 21:25).
It is very interesting that the Proverbs never mention the workaholic when this has certainly been an issue. But the reason the workaholic is never mentioned is because there is no such thing as a workaholic. A person who spends too much time at work is not a workaholic but just a sluggard at home.
The Proverbs teach us that God calls us to be diligent in every area He has called us to in order of priority. In order to work with wisdom, we must clarify our callings in order of importance and seek the way of wisdom in each area.