Wisdom from Proverbs - Anatomy of Work - Pursuing Occupational Fitness

The wages of the righteous is life, the income of the wicked, punishment. He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray. Proverbs 10:16-17 (NASB)
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work. Exodus 20:9-10A (NASB)

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

This is week three of a Four-week Devotional Series entitled, “Wisdom from Proverbs.” Proverbs is a book about wisdom for life. It consists of many wise sayings. We find in them the themes of Scripture expressed as practical righteousness that help us examine how we live and manage daily life in the light of divine truth. The book of Proverbs strongly proclaims that wisdom begins with the fear of Lord. The "Fear of the Lord" involves a reverence for God where we truly embrace the fact that "God is God and we are not." So, Proverbs takes the multi-faceted thing we call life and zeros in on many of its facets in terms that put God right in the center of things.

In order to gain that which the book of Proverbs has to offer, we need to be ones who are willing to put our primary focus on God and that which he communicates to us about his intentions for our lives. We hope the “Wisdom from Proverbs” Series will wonderfully contribute to your life yielding a remarkable level of practical righteousness as you allow Christ to change you in a multitude of wonderful ways. This series has four weeks of Devotional material, and each week has six Devotionals (Monday through Saturday).

Week One: Start Up Wisdom. Week two: Human Relationships. Week three: Anatomy of Work. Week four: The Truly Successful Life. We begin week two: Anatomy of Work, with the following:

Here we are in the third week of looking to the book of Proverbs for the wisdom we need for life. Our first week was all about "start-up wisdom." We found wisdom for how to go about getting wisdom that prepared us to let God use the book of Proverbs in our lives. Last week the area of life addressed by the book of Proverbs was our "relationships" with others. This week the area of life to be addressed by the book of Proverbs is "work." Primarily, when we think of "work," we think of our occupations (this will be our main emphasis this week). But certainly, in the broader sense, all of life is work. The Bible says, we "reap what we sow." Generally, we get out of something in proportion to what we put into it. So, yes, life is work, but we can also say, the right kind of work is life.

As seen in the first phrase of our Proverbs 10 passage above, when we do the work of living right, we earn "life." The next words, "He is on the path of life who heeds instruction," is really what our "Proverbs" series is all about. Let's swing back the other way now. A significant part of right living is right work (in the occupational sense) and we need to heed the instruction that the Book of Proverbs offers us on it. There are four aspects of "work" that we will consider on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of this week and then wrap everything up on Saturday.

We are going to add something very important into the mix for today, which is mentioned in our Exodus passage above, and we will come back to it on Saturday. It is "rest," the counterpart of "work." We are doing this in order to give a bigger context to our considerations on the subject of "work." It seems that there are two major struggles people have with work: getting started and getting stopped. Some of us struggle with one or the other and some struggle with both. However, very few of us find the right balance between work and rest and become occupationally fit.

In the Old Testament system God's requirements for his people provided very specifically for this balance between work and rest. The New Testament system employs the principle of Sabbath rest rather than the specific Sabbath day rest of the Old Testament (We will come back to this on Saturday). So, as we move through the week considering what Proverbs has to say about the subject of work, we will keep the need for balance between work and rest in view.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I pray that you will help me go further than ever before in my response to you and your instruction regarding work. Truly, I want to heed instruction and not ignore reproof. Set me more fully on the path of life in regard to "work" throughout the coming week. May it be that I become one who lives right because I learn to work right. May you be glorified through my work. Amen!

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