Editor’s Note: Bigtime thanks to Jon Nagle for writing Proverbs and Business’ very first guest post! A lot of great insight and wisdom by Jon in this post. Also, definitely encourage you to add him on Twitter (@jonathan_nagle).
By: Jonathan Nagle
Proverbs 19:15 (ESV) – “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”
Proverbs 20:13 (ESV) – “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.”
We are living in trying times. Times of high unemployment, minimal capital, irresponsible spending, and entitlement programs. With the constant blame game in our society, I’m often left wondering, ‘Where have all the men gone?’
As someone who operates in the sales arena, both in the corporate realm, as well as through my own direct sales small business, I see an all too common thread unfold. A tough economy spawns a hostile attitude, which in turn spawns lack of motivation, which then spawns laziness, and ultimately excuses for not being a good steward of our role. In Proverbs 19:15, and 20:13 we find a very real promise from God. He is directly promising poverty and hunger if we choose to give in to our lazy tendencies.
As a side note, there are far too many “Christians” out there who try to treat God as their magic genie, with the misled thinking that they can simply ask and receive in exact proportion to their request. Sorry folks, but that’s not how it works. In that scenario, the human (creation) is the omniscient decision maker, and God (creator) is simply the one filling the orders, no different from the person behind the microphone at your local drive thru burger joint. Sound silly to anyone else?
But getting back on track here, God is not only promising poverty and hunger in direct proportion to our slothfulness, but he is also instructing us to give Him some good old fashion hard work. This is where we must step up and be the men of our households. Not to rely on the hard work of others, as is so popular in today’s society, but to discipline ourselves to wake up and get to work. Business and leadership expert, Stephen Covey, once wrote:
“Perhaps in utilizing our human capacity to build on the foundation of generations before us, we have inadvertently become so focused on our own building that we have forgotten the foundation that holds it up; or in reaping for so long where we have not sown, perhaps we have forgotten the need to sow.”
Let us not forget that we have to sow before we reap. And as followers of Jesus Christ, let us also not forget that we are ambassadors, and that the ripple effect of our slothfulness could reap a misrepresentation of the Christian life.
In coordination with our work ethic, we must also remember to put our faith in Him, and not in our own abilities. Anytime we place our hope in anything but Christ, we are doomed for disappointment and emptiness. This is important to remember in today’s business world, because, as I stated before, laziness is often the ultimate result of frustration with exterior circumstances. I fully believe that it is possible to let our anxiety and stress “Be still, and know that [He] is God,” while still practicing our physical discipline. Martin Luther once said, “Pray, and let God worry.” I love this mindset, because it allows us to place all unsettled feelings in God’s hands, and to trust in His perfect timing, while still putting forth hard work. With that combination we can also relate to Thomas Edison, who once said, “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” If we hustle while we wait on God, we can reap what we’ve sown, and we will reap it in His perfect timing.
The best example I can think of for hustling while waiting on God is the apostle Paul. Paul was focused on being a good steward of the role that God gave him on earth. In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul writes:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (ESV)
Paul was not a business person; however I believe the point he makes here is universally translated, and that is the point of recognizing our role, being a good steward of that role, working extremely hard, and waiting on the grace of God for the rest.