Key Text: Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Proverbs 23:4
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan
As a country, we are worn-out consumers. The American Medical Association states that stress is the cause of over 60% of all human illnesses and diseases. And among the most stressed countries, the United States is near the top. Also, take into consideration that the US is the most overworked industrialized nation in the world. Could these be related? Judge for yourself. While it is impossible to measure the motive of our country’s strong work ethic, it could be related to being among the top five consumeristic countries. So is the remedy to dial back on our efforts?
The English Standard Version, my favorite go-to translation for study, translates verse 4 this way,” Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” Notice that reason is essential here. The author is not telling us to sit around and be lazy; instead, our hard work should build lasting value. In context, verse five explains that “cast a glance at riches, and they are gone.” The point made is specific: don’t wear yourself out, working hard for what will not last. We should work hard! And doing so with a biblical worldview is the key.
Jesus, in Matthew chapter 6, reminds us to “store up our treasures in heaven.” Imagine if our country applied the same work effort to invest in the eternal, rather than the temporary? As disciples of Jesus, we can lead the way. Our endeavors to add lasting value through our earthly efforts will draw people towards God. Point to Jesus by working hard to invest in the Kingdom.
Dave Mergens, Pastor of Adult Formation
Today’s Challenge: Work hard towards something eternal.