The Bible is full of examples of successful people -- people who found, followed and finished their divine assignment by the grace of God. Some of them were rich, but there were many who were not. Some of them lived long lives, while others died at an early age. Some had it relatively easy, while others seemingly went through hell on the road to their purpose. My point is that there is no 'cookie cutter' path to divine success. There is no blanket statement I can give you about the path we take to divine success that will apply to people, at all times. Some truths are universal and timeless, and we will deal with those truths in this series. But I can't tell you that everyone is going to have the money Solomon had, the strength Sampson had, or the challenges Paul had. What I can tell you is that God has given every believer the grace to complete his or her divine assignment, whatever that assignment is.
Each of us take a path that is as unique as we are. But at the end of the day, divine success boils down to doing what you were born to do, before you die. That's it, and it's that simple. While that is the "what" of success, this morning I want to talk about the "how". Today I will discuss hard work and tomorrow I will bring God's grace into the equation.
So what does this mean to you today? Let's learn a few things about hard work.
1. God is not a rewarder of laziness. In Proverbs chapter 10 Solomon said, "He becomes poor who works with a lazy hand, but the hand of the diligent brings wealth" (v.4). In chapter 12 he said, "Work hard, and you will be a leader; be lazy, and you will end up a slave" (v.24) and "If you are lazy, you will never get what you are after, but if you work hard, you will get a fortune" (v.27). In chapter 13 he said, "People who refuse to work want things and get nothing. But the longings of people who work hard are completely satisfied" (v.4). In chapter 21 Solomon said, "The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work" (v.25). In the New Testament Paul said, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thes 3:10). Jesus said, "My Father is always working, and so am I" (John 5:17). And believe me, there are many, many more scriptures like this in the Bible. My point is that God requires you to work. The Lord expects you to bind your feet to the path He has laid before you and to put your hands to work on the assignment He has given you.
2. The Lord can favor your work. I grew up in a family where 'hard work' was part of our DNA. The men were taught to work hard to support their families. The women were taught to work hard to make a home that was peaceful and practical. All these years later I can say with certainty that He continues to favor the work of my hands. Here's my point: the Lord cannot favor or bless the work of your hands if you do not put your hands to work. If you want God to bless what you are doing, then you have to DO something. Stop talking about your dreams and pursue them.
3. God wants you to be good at what you do. Remember, you represent God. I strive to be the best at what I do in the military and by the grace of God I can say that I am one of the best, if not THE best at what I do in the entire U.S. Army. By doing my best I am able to represent God and give Him the glory whenever the spotlight is on me. King Solomon said, "Observe people who are good at their work - skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don't take a back seat to anyone" (22:29). That is my testimony and I pray it be yours as well. If you will be faithful to work, God will be faithful to bless the work of your hands!
Closing: Father, I thank You for making plans for me before the world began, for shielding and protecting me for my purpose even before I acknowledged You as Lord, and for now blessing the work of my hands. I want to maximize my purpose and potential. I want to arrive at Your desired destination for my life. I want to die empty, getting out of me everything You placed in me. I want to leave a mark in this world that will not be erased. I want to leave a legacy of righteousness for my children and my children's children. I want to be the person I am called to be, and in order to do it, I know I will need to put my hands to WORK. You don't bless laziness. I am Your child, I represent You every day, and I declare that I shall represent You well. I enter each day with a determination to do my best, by Your grace, with a full expectation that You will bless the work of my hands. I am like the Blessed Man described in Psalm 1. I am like a tree planted by the rivers of water, I bring forth my fruit in my season, my leaves do not wither, and everything I DO prospers. I am faithful to work and You are faithful to bless the work of my hands. Like Your Word says, my work is always in demand and I do not take a back seat to anyone. I declare this by faith. In Jesus' name, Amen!