Random Proverbs for Business Feed

Wealth Words from Proverbs 10

These Proverbs were in my reading for today and spoke to me as I have been considering my own financial goals. They come from Proverbs 10:

 

4 Lazy hands make a man poor,
       but diligent hands bring wealth.

The Work-Attitude-Wealth connection in the scriptures, especially in Proverbs is blatant. WAW (Isn't that Hebrew?) reminds us that our attitudes about work and our follow-through on those beliefs have everything to do with our prosperity. While it is important to work "smart," it is also important to work hard enough to overcome lethargy. Sitting around doing nothing will produce nothing. 

 

15 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
       but poverty is the ruin of the poor.

While the scriptures teach us not to love money or trust in riches, they also give us a realistic picture of what real wealth does for us: It gives us security and freedom from unexpected attacks. Most of us come to financial ruin through poor planning and inattention to the details of sound financial planning and implementation of good business principles. 

 

16 The wages of the righteous bring them life,
       but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.

To balance this teaching, one must be reminded that wealth in the wrong hands, wages specifically, can be a cause of pain and punishment. For instance, Paul reminds us in  Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, but that eternal life comes a s a gift from God. On the other hand, financial remuneration for wealth well-done by righteous people can enhance life and provide wonderful options. 

 

21 The lips of the righteous nourish many,
       but fools die for lack of judgment.

I left out a some verses on money and added this one on a different subject. however, it spoke to me this morning and relates to where I am in my business and ministry. what God has given to me specifically with which to bless others and earn a living is my ability to communicate with words. God grant that I may be a righteous man, rightly related to god and traveling in the right direction so that my words may nourish many. This is especially urgent since so many are falling by the wayside for lack of judgment. 

 

22 The blessing of the LORD brings wealth,
       and he adds no trouble to it.

Whatever God considers wealth in my life is what I desire to receive from Him and in cooperation with His purposes. That wealth will be a blessing with which I can bless others. Anything else will just be trouble.





Lyn Perry and Thought Renewal

Lyn Perry is getting the job done at Thought Renewal. His balance of good sense and biblical grounding is refreshing and challenging. Any serious entrepreneur with a deep commitment to Jesus Christ and Christian principles would do well to subscribe to Lyn's blog.

His mission is stated as, "Helping People Help Themselves to a Joyful Life of Abundance"

I first came across Lyn's work while writing and researching a Christian perspective on the recent documentary, "The Secret." I found his analysis very similar to my own . Lyn encourages employment of the "Law of Affirmation."

Here is his from one of his recent articles, Daily Afirmations, Part 3:

"I have decided to use the talents God has given me and create wealth for my family and those around me."

  • Think of my family and friends who will benefit.
  • Think of the ministries we can fund and the saints we will serve.
  • Think of our future friends we'll greet in the Kingdom.
  • Think of the tens of thousands of lives we can touch.
  • Think of the taxes we'll pay.
  • Think of the business we'll generate and the people employed because of it.
  • Think of my parents and the positive impact they've had as successful business owners.
  • Think of the legacy we'll leave.

His integration of scripture and sound business and motivational principles will keep bringing me back. I am subscribing!


The Real Secret

Interest in The Secret continues to grow as it has to a lesser degree to my response. Here is my further response. The REAL Secret is the Law of Grace.

  • Grace is the most powerful force in the universe. We are saved by grace, liberated by grace, and empowered by grace to love, live, laugh, and dream. We swim in a sea of grace not of our own making. God's grace not only compensates for our shortcomings, but lifts us and moves us to greatness.
  • Within the context of grace and beyond our understanding, God honors and sometimes overrides the laws of the universe that He has created. His overrides are almost always in our favor and His enforcement is a source of blessing to all who discover and practice those laws whether in faith or in ignorance of faith.
  • God is a dreamer. He has a dream for the world and a dream for each of us. It His desire for us to dream with Him. He is intentional about these dreams and the greatest significance in life comes from discovering His dream and living in it as we pursue it and give ourselves to it. In other words, it matters what God wants!
  • Dreams are realities. They have lives of their own and they have legs. When we dream and follow our dreams, we activate divine laws that are extremely powerful and deeply fulfilling.
  • Dreams without thought, commitment, and perseverance are pipe dreams and fantasies. Real dreams take work and time.
  • The power of positive thinking is a scientific reality. More so, it is a divine invention. it is real because God made it real. It is not an ultimate reality apart from divine providence and declaration.
  • You can often get what you want now by applying the principles that seem to be divorced from any specific commitment to God's will, like the Law of Attraction, but real fulfillment and eternal significance come only through aligning oneself with Him in an intimate and committed relationship. This is the message, ministry, and work of Jesus Christ.
  • Whatever life is now, it can be more as we discipline and elevate our thinking, expectations, and faith and become true dreamers, committed to a vision that is grander than self or personal ambition. The sky is the limit. their is no ceiling to the greatness possible in your life.

More on Laziness, Work, Word, Witness, and Wealth

I am surrounded by so much beauty and a bit more time than usual, but also the opportunity to benefit from some rare fellowship, conversation, and activity during this northern sojourn.  I am being refreshed and challenged. So, I can write a few things that come across my mind by way of my heart. This week, I am mulling over some of the Proverbs. One of the issues that they are presenting to me this time around (going around them once a month for some time now) is the matter of the relationship  between work, wealth, and witness. Today's chapter is 19.

1 -
Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

Proverbs does not exalt poverty as a value in and of itself. In fact, there is much in the book about how to maximize our financial potential, but it is always held in perspective. We are to strike a balance. For instance, we are instructed not to wear ourselves out to get rich while we are being taught not to be lazy either.

The question of wealth is relative. It is broader than our finances, but generally refers, in Proverbs, to money or its equivalents. Yet, some things are for more important: wisdom, integrity, morality, righteousness, and sound speech. Without these, wealth is of very little value.

The fruit of our lips is vital to our witness and also reveals the character of our hearts. Character is valuable to us and to God.

2 - Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.

We admire zealous people. The NIV translates the first part of this verse as "...zealous without knowledge..." Zealous people can sell almost anything to at least someone. They are often successful, sometimes overnight. But zeal without some basis in knowledge (read TRUTH here) is not good. Whatever your line, it  is faulty if it is not real. Get real; be real; stay real. And don't get in such a hurry to be successful that you (a) don't get your facts straight and (b) do shoddy, sloppy, deceitful background work. That leads to sin.

Haste that sacrifices sound preparation and truth-seeking is dangerous and sinful. It is foolish according to Proverbs.

3 - The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.

The fool is the person who hastens to embrace half-truths and outright falsehoods in the interest of success and expediency. He moves in the direction that his zealous impulses prompt him and crash lands. Then he blames God. The irony is that he never consulted God in the first place. He never even glanced in the direction of real wisdom. He was in too big a hurry to get where he was going and pursued delusion with passionate fumbling.

8 - He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.

Seek truth. Seek guidance. Seek wise counsel. Seek God and His purposes. It is the purest form of self-love. It is the wisest sort of self-interest. It is the antithesis of sinking ones own ship.

15 - Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

Work hard without wearing yourself out. Fully engage. Hare e integrity in your work. Laziness feeds on itself. It doesn't start with genuine weariness, but it produces it. Lazy people wear out as fast as people who dork without replenishing their energy. This is one of the insights I am getting from "The Power of Full Engagement." Solomon and his friends knew it thousands of years ago.

16 - He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.

Of what use is wealth if you are dead physically or spiritually?  Living our lives with contempt for all that is of real value leads to death. A high regard for God's truth leads to life.

Despising one's ways means that we live carelessly and work sloppily. If we desire to "keep our souls," we will seek the significance of even the most menial tasks we perform and do them the "right" way, fully engaged and sensitive to the commands that have been given us - especially through the scriptures.

17 -He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Generosity is a good business decision and an even better life decision. It makes no logical business sense to be generous, fair, and just with the poor, but it makes a great deal of spiritual sense. If we believe that there is a God who rewards those who implement His principles of success we will reach out beyond what is expected and required. It will spill over into how we treat our clients, customers, employees, and the people on the street who do not have the ability to contribute to our success. God will repay and He will do it His way - which is the best way.

20 - Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep seeking. Don't stop listening. You will develop humility and you will gain wisdom. We really don't have many money problems, but we have loads of wisdom deficiencies. By the way, this kind of wisdom doesn't happen overnight, but if you expect to live awhile, you'll appreciate it when you come to the climax of your life.

21 - There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Work hard. Plan well. Trust God. Keep an open hand and heart. Keep your plans and strategies tentative and sensitive to the movement of God and His intervention in your heart, mind, and circumstances. He will have the last word and if you can get some of that word ahead of time, it will work in your favor. Real success is God working out His purpose in and through your life.

Kick this up a notch. It is easy to make lots of plans and create elaborate schemes, many of which might work, but it is not prgmatic outcomes that we strive for; it is God's best.

   23 - The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

Get your attitude toward and relationship with God straight. He is God. You are not. This is the elemental fear that is qualitatively different than all fears and casts them out. When you are rightly related to God as God and reverence Him, you will worry about nothing because you will know satisfaction at a new level. You will do your work carefully, purposefully, and enthusiastically.  You will bear witness to God's sovereignty by obeying Him, to God's love by enjoying His gracious benefits  and by loving others, to God's truth by living it, and to God's power by being a living demonstration of His ironies (first shall be last, last shall be first, etc ...). Then you will enjoy what wealth He bestows as He determines and defines. You will be satisfied and you will be like Teflon to the attacks of evil.

24 - A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible on laziness and industry.  How many of us are hungry because we refuse to feed ourselves what has already been provided. "Blessed are the poor" is true. Our Master who makes all of this work in our lives by His redeeming grace said it and it is so. However, the kind of poverty He commended is not the kind that comes through sloth or indifference. It is more of an attitude than a bank statement. And if it is about our bank statement it is because of sacrifices we have made for His Kingdom at His behest.

There is no honor or blessing in laziness. Nor is there value in any lack of industry, goal-setting, dream-building, and complacency when we can do and be so much more for God in our businesses, ministries, and especially our personal development with Him.

25 -Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

The wise person is willing to exert the energy to change and grow. The lazy man resents correction. It may require action.

If you want to go somewhere beyond where you are, it will require movement, the expenditure of energy, and some discomfort. It will also require that you hesitate long enough to get some direction.  Once these are in place, move forward, willing to receive mid-course corrections.

But whatever you do, laziness is not an option.

I write this during a time of great relaxation and refreshment <BIG SMILE>.

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I must admit I get a little perturbed when people complain about lack of money and success when they haven't done the things that they can do to change their circumstances. When we operate on the assumption that the world or God Himself owes us a living when God has already given us opportunities, we limit means which He Himself may have provided for our support. I do not suggest that we veer away from a life of faith, but that we, especially those of us in ministry, at least lay before Him the question of whether or not He'd have us make a few tents along our missionary journeys.  That is why I promote entrepreneurship, knowing it is not for everyone, but I suspect is for some who are not responding.



No Slack in Daily Work

From my own reading today, I was challenged to fully engage in the work I have been given.

"One who is slack in his work is a brother to one who destroys." Proverbs 18:10 (New International Version)

Destructiveness is often seen as actively malicious behavior such as swinging an axe in a room full of glass, but the Proverbian suggests that passive aggression is just as destructive. He specifically refers to that passive non-behavior of the one who avoids, evades, and glosses over work.

What is destroyed?

If you are working for someone else, you destroy that person's business, perhaps little by little, perhaps in big blocks of potential productivity. Destroy his business and destroy his prospects for building a better life for his family and providing jobs and opportunities for others.

You also destroy your own reputation and prospects for future employability.

You could make a mistake through slack work that could cost lives as well as money. Time is lost. Dreams are flushed down the drain. Much is destroyed. It is dishonest and larcenous to withold work for which one is being payed.

Here is one not found in Holy Writ:

"Slack  not lest thou be sacked."

If you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself, you destroy your own business, waste your investments, show contempt for your sponsors and mentors, stealing their time, and destroy relationships with your partners.

All of these things are true if you are alone in business, except that you are hurting yourself and your family most, but also all the people you could have helped, mentored, challenged, and inspired buy your success.

All of this stops short of acknowledging that God has a purpose in your work for which you need to be fully engaged and to which you must be fully committed in order to fully participate in.

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Proverbs 16 on Planning and Implementation

Reflecting on the relationship between planning and implementing our work and the sovereignty of God over the affairs of humanity provided a framework for my daily reading in the Proverbs.

Proverbs 16 does not discourage planning; but it does make a case for holding everything with an open hand, tentatively, humbly, and with a comfortable tolerance for flexibility.

Plans are in the heart, verse 1 says, but there is some distance between the heart and the tongue and God has something to say about the final product. Start with the heart and let things gel. Think before you speak. Better still, think and pray. Margins are a necessity in business and in life.

Verse 2 ( Look these up) reminds us that no matter how innocent we believe our choices are, only God knows and can evaluate our motives or anyone else's. Lesson for business and life: Don't try to pass judgment on other people's motives. Deal with what you can know, what is before you.

Verse 3 is helpful. We can plan and strategize to our hearts content, but only when we commit our plans to God is success within view  - real success, the kind defined by verse 4 - namely God working everhything out for His purposes.

The question implied there is, "Am I in or out of this deal?  Either way, He will succeed."

Again, verse 9 mandates flexibility and verse 33 calls for humility. In the midst of it all, though, we are not to be passive because, along with flexibility and humility, real success require industry, otherwise known as a work ethic. The laborer is moved forward, prodded, and impassioned by his own hunger.

For a good treatment of work ethic see the article on Labor Day in the Faith at Work blog. Mike McLoughlin is reading our preacher mail when he indicts us for our silence on the dignity of work.

The bible is not silent here. Why should we be?

Proverbs 16 oozes the sentiment that God has the final word on everything, but that is no excuse not to plan, consider, commit, and work with integrity, humility, and flexibility.

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Cravings or Desires

I read a chapter in Proverbs most every day corresponding to the day of the month. I've been doing this for quite a while an have failed to exhaust all the insights that pop out of the page, grab me around the neck and shake the living daylights out of me.

Solomon was a successful leader who was not impressed with his own success. All he really ever wanted to be was wise. He authored or collected these sayings and they still ring true with such piercing relevance that they seem like they could have been written yesterday.

I do most of my reading and reflecting from the New International Version (c) 2002, International Bible Society.

This one grabbed me today:

13:4 - "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied."


So what is the difference between the desire of a dilligent person and the craving of a lazy person?

From the start, we nod our heads knowingly, acknowledging that this proverb is true. A craving is a carnal drive that overwhelms our judgment and woos us into reckless thinking and action.

C is for carnal because this drive is fleshly through and through. There is not accounting for satisfaction which transcends momentary instant gratification. Carnal cravings sabotage long-term goals which require delayed gratification. The desires of the diligent are long-term desires. The antidote to unbridled Carnality is Captitol. I'll need to explain this more later, but the successful and diligent business person is not trying to satisfy the momentary cravings of the flesh, but is attempting to accumulate intellectual, spiritual, and economic capitol to build a dream over the years.

R is for reckless because we will do anything to get what we crave if we are driven by our cravings. We will make bad decisions and sloppy choices. The sluggard's true desires cannot be satisfied because he does not make the kind of choices that move him steadily toward his goals. He has bursts of energy, but no tolerance or stamina for the long haul. He is recklessly lazy. He's work hard for a moment, but refuses to pace himself for a lengthy journey. Recklessness must give way to Responsibility.

A is for absorbed in self. Nothing outside of self matters, ones own desires, ones own needs, and ones own irritations and pain. You see the same sort of thing in 21:10 -. "The wicked man craves evil. His neighbor gets no mercy from him." He is too driven by self-absorbed cravings to have empathy and compassion for anyone else. Absorption is self must give way to natural Affect, as in the capacity to be touched in the heart and moved by the heart's response to another's pain and emotion.

V is for vindictive. When mercy is lacking, one keeps score of wrongs and a new craving emerges, an irrational desire for revenge and retribution even if it means sinking ones own ship. Instead of being driven by Vindictiveness, we need to be driven by Values.

E is for evil. Define it as you will. Some will argue that there is no evil in the world. That seems to defy any honest study of history or human behavior. All of us have areas of our lives where we are drawn to darkness because there are some things that appeal to us that are not good for us or for others. It is when we give into these cravings that evil begins to creep into our hearts. We loosen our standards and suspend our ethics and before you know it, we have an Enron-sized debacle. compressed into our own lives. We must replace Evil with sound Ethics if we are going to reach our long term business goals.

S is for selfish. "I want it all for me." "It's all about me." The sluggard cannot weigh the larger issues of what is good for the community or the team. Such an individual will cash out as soon as he or she has been immediately gratified. This person is not even concerned about the self she will be in ten years - only the self right now. He makes no provision for his future. She takes no thought of leaving a legacy. He makes no effort to contribute to society.  As a result, he gets nothing - at least nothing of value or substance. Selfishness must be replaces by Selflessness. The diligent know that no person succeeds alone and gives time and energy to helping other people succeed, even if it is personally costly (and it always is - but it is also, always personally rewarding.) The outward focus yields inward rewards.

The desires of the diligent are focused on long term goals and dreams. The cravings of the sluggard are momentary and fading fast. Diligent people sacrifice a great deal for long term success, but lazy people sacrifice everything for instant gratification.

Well, that's what hit me between the eyeballs today. Perhaps together we can make something of it.

ADDENDUM

I found this at TheFathersHouse Online.org:

"Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the daydreamer desires, and has nothing to show for it: but the soul of the one who is perfecting their business shall be made fat.

In other words, if it is worth dreaming about then it is worth working."

Very insightful and impressive. I love the translation and application.

And a Prayer Application

This from novelist, Janet Rubin:

"Lord,
Please help me to be diligent to exercise this gift. Give me a vision of what I will be in the future if I work hard. Thank You for all You are teaching me on the way.
Amen"