Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Three Keys to Prospering in Your Work

“And every work that [Hezekiah] undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered” (2 Chronicles 31:21).

There are here in this one verse three keys to prospering in your work.

One, whatever you do should be in accordance with the word of God. God’s will is revealed in his word; it is to be found in no other place. I realize the Bible does not tell us whether we should be a carpenter or a financial advisor, a realtor or a nurse, but it does tell us to do what we do as unto the Lord. So if what you are doing can be so done, it is well and good as far as God is concerned.  Better yet, find out what God wants you to do, and do that. I teach that a person should get a word from God as to his occupation. It could be that God puts a certain thing on your heart, to be and do such and such a thing.  This is also good in God’s sight, as he gives us the desires of our hearts. He is in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  That said, let it be “in accordance with the law and the commandments.”

Two, seek God.  He is a rewarder of them that seek him.  Jesus taught, “seek and you shall find.” Having sought God as to what he wants you to do, keeping seeking him as to how to do it.

This is a never ending endeavor.  There is a verse in Scripture that goes like this: “As long as he sought the Lord, he prospered” (see 2 Chronicles 26:5). So if you are seeking God and prospering, if you want to continue to do so, keep seeking God.

Three, do what you do with all your heart.  The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).  What is to be noticed here is who you are working for.  You may think you are working for the government, or the auto-maker, or the real-estate broker. Or, if you are self-employed or own your own business, that you work for yourself.  The Christian, however, is to work for the Lord.  Verse 24 of this same book and chapter says, “You are serving the Lord Christ.”  So, if you think a half-hearted approach to your job pleases the Lord, then go for it. Otherwise, you had better up your game.

There is another verse in Ecclesiastes that addresses how you work.  “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (9:10).  In other words, in everything you do, whatever it is—your job, your service to your family or church, or even mundane things like mowing the yard or shoveling snow, give it all you have.  Do it as for Jesus, as this greatly pleases him.

It should be apparent, then, that if you wish to prosper, be applying these principles.  And if you want to keep on prospering, don’t let up. I have found that after enjoying a measure of success, it is easy to ease off on the intensity with which you approach your work. Jesus says it best when speaking about prayer: keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.  The key words here being “keep on.”


If the Lord Wills

I’ll not forget an experience I had late Spring 1990. We were in our 6th year as a company, having enjoyed five straight years of rapid growth and profitability. I had added personnel and our firm was working all over the state of Michigan. However, it was May and we had lost a considerable amount of money the first four months of the year. T. L. Hart, Inc. was in trouble.

I had had a goal of becoming one of mid-Michigan’s best and largest painting contractors. And we were well on our way. Our list of reputable customers was growing and, as for me, I was active in the area’s trade association and had worked my way to the top as president. Working with this association and the state, I had developed an apprenticeship program to train new painters. All of which was in jeopardy because of the losses. Not only was what I had built at risk, but so was my family. We had sold our house in town—and couldn’t get a loan approved for the new house we wanted because of the financials.

I was humiliated and my world was fast falling apart.

One day, laying on the couch and commiserating with myself, God reminded me of a Bible verse I had read before. It was from the book of James, chapter four, verses 13-15:

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’”

There’s a lot to be learned in these three short verses, but my take away that day was this: “if the Lord wills.” That is, whatever I do—in this regard grow the company—it has to be in harmony with God’s will.

Most folks think that God and religion are to be relegated to Sundays and church, but that’s not true. Even a casual reading of the Bible instructs us that God cares about even the most mundane things, like eating and drinking and sleeping—not to mention business, employer/employee relations, profit, and so forth. I had come to understand this through many years of not only reading the Scriptures, but also being part of a Christian businessman’s group which studied such things.

God’s will is paramount to any endeavor, and it is important for the earnest believer to be always putting that ahead of his own aspirations. I think mine had gotten way out ahead of God’s

Life is too short to be messing around with pursuits motivated by pride and personal ambition. In fact, James goes on to cite the reason for his admonishment: “But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (verse 16).

I’m certain my inward attitude resembled at least to some degree such arrogance. Success, especially quick success, breeds such things. Thank God He interrupted the course of things and interjected His thoughts into the matter. I stood corrected.

If I remember it right, we went on that year to recover the losses and ended the year with a small profit. And I was able to get a mortgage. God is good.

I had a lot more to learn—but I shall save these for another time. What is important, albeit with respect to business, marriage and family, church, and other personal interests, is the will of God. The take-away is this: we ought always to say when considering anything, “If the Lord wills.” Or, “God-willing, we will do this or that.”

For Openers. . .

Those of us who are Christians – and many non-Christians for that matter – make the mistake that we have God pegged, all figured out; that we know what He is going to do and when He is going to do it and how He is going to get it done.  What foolishness!  Even the apostle Paul did not presume to know fully the mind and ways of God.  So should we?

This is what Paul concludes after he has just laid out God’s extrordinary plan for His people Israel:

“O the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)!  And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!  For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has (Iever) been His counselor?  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things (For all things originate with Him, and come from Him, all things live through Him and all things center in and tend to consumate and to end in Him).  To Him be glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36, Amplified).

This puts things in perspective.  While I firmly believe a person can know the will of God for his or her life, I have also learned from experience that we don’t always get it right, we don’t always get full disclosure, it doesn’t always play out the way we think it will.  Ultimately, God knows precisely what He is going to do, when and how – and He’s not necessarily obligated to tell us!  Our job is to trust Him.

May 2023