Blessing or Labor

Proverb 10: 4

Poor is one who works with a lazy hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

What about this? I wrote you recently that it was the blessing of the Lord which makes rich (Proverb 10: 22). So, which is it, the blessing or the work of your hand which makes rich?

I heard an expression years ago that stuck with me, “God can’t steer a parked car.” The message was that we are to begin moving and then He will direct us. In recent years you have actually heard me teach this under the moniker, “Partnership.” Therein lies your answer.

Deuteronomy 28: 12 reads, “The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless every work of your hand; and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow.” This chapter is about the blessing and you can surely see it in this passage. If you look closely, though, you will also see our part in the partnership. Let me rephrase this combining the verses from Proverbs and Deuteronomy. It is the blessing of the Lord which makes rich as God blesses the work of our hands. We must set our hands to something. Second, we must do so in the name of the Lord, committing our work to Him.  Third, we must allow Him to steer us. The outcome is blessing. If we will allow the Father to be our partner in everything we do, He will anoint and bless the work of our hands. He will show us the way to go.

Neither looking to the might of our hand nor sitting around waiting for God to do something will result in the success we desire. It is the combination of allowing God to direct us and then putting our hand to the plow which yields results. God is waiting to bless you, but you must pull away from the curb and then let Him navigate. It is the combination of our joint labors that wins the day.

The Stream of Knowledge

Proverb 14: 6

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

Again, this week, I find it challenging to choose only one verse from this powerhouse of a proverb. I hope you are utilizing the link at the bottom to read the entire proverb each Monday.

Today’s verse is taken, as usual, from the New American Standard Bible, my Bible of preference. However, I read many versions because sometimes the editors’ use of one different word opens up more understanding for me. Therefore, I wish to share The Passion Translation’s rendering of this verse today, “The intellectually arrogant seek for wisdom, but they never seem to discover what they claim they’re looking for. For revelation-knowledge flows to the one who hungers for understanding.”

I believe this rendition reveals much about knowledge and wisdom. First, we are enlightened as to its source. This passage shows that knowledge is “revealed.” What does that mean? It means that our God, who is the fountain of all knowledge and wisdom, passes that knowledge to us. He is the source. Second, He gives this wisdom and knowledge to those who hunger and thirst for it. Moreover, He gives it to those who seek Him for it rather than those who study and try to succeed in their own strength. Of course, when we are intellectually arrogant, we seek knowledge through our efforts and when we do, we do not seek God. That would require humility. No, instead we study and labor rather than simply humbling ourselves before our God in entreaty.

Third, wisdom and knowledge come to us as a flow. Isn’t that interesting? God downloads His knowledge to us like a stream flowing smoothly across the landscape. This isn’t a painful or labor-intensive method. Flow is found in relaxation. Picture yourself lying beside a quiet little stream and see how peaceful it makes you feel. While you lie there, the stream just bubbles along, seemingly without any energy compelling it. As you relax and breathe, you open your own channels so that the flow may enter you. It is not by striving, therefore, but rather by relaxing in the comfort of the Father that wisdom and knowledge are gained.

Yet, of all the things I ask of you, perhaps this is one of the most difficult, to relax in the presences of God. Stop everything else you are doing. Do not answer the phone or that incoming text. Just bask in the Lord’s presence in quiet, meditative peace, thinking more about your breathing than your “to do” list. If we could all do this more, we would have more answers. We would have more knowledge. Instead, we think, worry, and toil for answers. Stop for a moment. Give yourself a couple of breaths. Put your mind on Yahweh and let the answers come to you, in the name of Jesus.

Proverb 14

Overtaken by Blessing

Proverb 10: 22      GW

It is the Lord’s blessing that makes a person rich, and hard work adds nothing to it.

My friend, Chuck, brought this to the attention of myself and a book group we were involved in. Chuck, you see, is Jewish and has studied God’s word all his life. He is a Messianic Jew, a Jew who believes in Jesus as the Christ. The thing is though, through his rich understanding of scripture, Chuck was able to illuminate this verse for us.

Many Christian translations of this verse reframe the meaning. I think translators were uncomfortable with the literal translation. The verse is actually pretty clear when we simply take it as it is. It is the blessing of God that makes a person successful in any facet of life, including but not limited to finances. Rich, in this verse is much larger than financial prosperity but it cannot be eliminated either. That, again, is denial or equivocation. The verse says what it says, and we just have to get comfortable with it.

Many translations read something like this, “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it” (NASB). Well, the first part is substantially correct, but the second phrase is where we struggle. Think of the Puritan work ethic. We believe we are supposed to be hard workers. However, somewhere along the line, and actually many years ago, we began to believe that our hard work actually produces something. It does not. It is simply our part of the equation. God blesses the work of our hand (Deut. 28: 12), but it is important to understand that it is God’s blessing that causes the increase.

My friend, Ann, and I have been discussing how the blessing literally chases us down in the street. I have got so many people blessing our bike team that one has to recognize the blessing of God. You can’t out give or out bless these folks. No matter what I do to thank or recognize them, they up the ante. That is the blessing of God chasing you down. We are not blessed because of anything I have done. It is not the work of my hand that is causing this blessing. It is the blessing of God working within incredible individuals and my labor has only been obedience. I must obey God in order to be in the right position to receive but it is God who is causing great things to happen. I wish you could just follow along behind me and watch what God is doing. It is amazing! You would very clearly see that it is the hand of God.

The blessing of God makes rich. Hallelujah! I have no performance anxiety or pressure because it isn’t about me. It is about Him and what a relieve that is. I hope you will copy this verse down on a card and post it where you can see it because this verse will set you free. It will give you wings. Work hard just because you want to honor God. Go where He sends and do as He directs but do not worry about the outcome because that is on Him.

Proverb 10:

Blessings to You

Psalm 128: 1 – 2

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you will be happy and it will go well for you.

For those of you in the United States, I hope you had a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. And for those of you around the world, blessings to you!

This psalm reminds and encourages us that all who love the Lord are blessed. We are also reminded that the blessing is found in walking his path and in following his ways. As we follow him, we are led into fruitful, productive work which provides for us in many ways, including the satisfaction of a good day’s labor.

May you find fulfilment and blessing today. May you walk continually in his ways, enjoying his presence.

Labor of Love


Colossians 3: 23 – 24

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

A strong society requires a strong labor force.  It is an honor to labor in the name of the Lord Jesus.  As we celebrate the role of labor in building this country, we should remember that generations of hard working Americans are to be credited for the luxuries we enjoy today.  There is joy in doing a job well so let’s keep up the good work America!


Jeremiah 31: 16

Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord.

Have you ever labored in vain, or at least what seemed in vain? Are you spending time and energy right now that doesn’t seem to be bearing fruit for you? Well, God has a good word for you today. Your labor is not in vain. Your work will be rewarded.

I have to believe that God’s word is true and that as you sow, you shall reap. If you are sowing seeds with your effort, then God will produce a harvest. Right now, it may look like all hope is lost, that none appreciate the hard work you have been putting in. Maybe you have been working for a while now without the fruit of you labor showing. God is not a man that He should lie. Your seed must bear fruit. It is the way the universe was created. Maybe you don’t think your boss appreciates you or that anyone even notices how hard you have been working. Maybe not even your spouse knows about the sleepless nights you have had because of thinking about a project and how you can improve it. There is one, however, who sees all you have done, all you are doing. God is a witness to your hard work and dreams.

When God gives us a dream and a vision, we are propelled into a state which almost feels like a parallel dimension. We see so clearly what could be and throw the full force of our dreams and our energy into following God’s plan. We must pray and stay on His track. We must partner with Him, letting Him guide us. Then, no matter what happens, keep your faith in your vision and your God. Don’t be sidetracked by what mere men do. This is between you and Yahweh. Leave the results to him. Just focus your eyes on him and do all that is in your heart to do. Let the Lord, your God be your rewarder. He promises, “Your work will be rewarded.”


Psalm 37: 5 & 7                    God’s Word

Entrust your ways to the Lord. Trust him, and he will act on your behalf. Surrender yourself to the LORD, and wait patiently for him.

This is one of my favorite Bible passages. It is important to me because it speaks to an issue that I constantly must consider. This passage is about the partnership with God. When we partner with Him, then the work load is shared. We have our part and He has His. The key is for us to do our part and to stay out of His part. Therein lies the challenge but also ultimate success.

I believe in working. In fact, I believe in hard work and working smart. Most of all, though, I have learned that neither of those eclipses the number one guideline which is, let God lead. This reminds me of a verse that we should all memorize. It is Proverb 10: 22. The NASB and the King James read essentially the same, “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.” I think few of us have understood what “He adds no sorrow to it means.” The Hebrew Bible clears this up for us. It reads, “It is the blessing of the Lord which makes rich, and your toil adds nothing to it.” The “sorrow” written of in the other translations is the sorrow from toil. There is no travail in success when the Lord is in it with us. Our “toil” isn’t what will bring success. It is He and His blessing which provide the success for each undertaking. The New International Version reads, “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.”

God isn’t against hard work, nor is He against working smart but what He really wants us to learn is to work wisely. That is an entirely different deal. Spiritually appraised people learn to work first in their spirits by connecting with the spirit of wisdom. Here is where patience comes in. The Passion Translation says to “commit everything you do to the Lord.” We are to entrust all our ways, all our plans, dreams and assignments to Him as the first step. Then we surrender ourselves and our projects fully to Him. He may have you working really hard for a time, but it is to be at His direction. Sometimes the thing He will tell you to do is to meditate. Okay, that does not fit into western thinking, but God knows that sometimes that is the best thing to do. And that is the point. We are supposed to surrender our thinking to His ways.

One last thought, none of this works without first seeking the Lord. The whole idea is partnering with Him, tuning into Him and allowing Him to guide you. Your work load is to be managed by the Father. We are supposed to wait patiently for Him but only after we have surrendered ourselves to Him and entrusted Him with our goals. So, this does not mean watching television while we wait upon God. It means seeking Him and meditating on Him and His Word. See, that is your part. Then the answers to all the questions will be presented to you. This waiting is in faith. It is expectantly listening. You are to be co-laborers. That does mean you work but it is at the Father’s direction. He will show you the way when you commit all your plans and hopes to Him.