by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 26 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)
Someone has well said, "I believe in luck. The harder I work the luckier I get." The secret to any success is hard work. Whether it is the building of a church or a hot-dog stand, the making of a good life or good grades, work is the great secret to success. No amount of talent can take its place. No gifts can substitute for it. Even if per chance one could obtain success without work, it would fail to satisfy. The Bible has much to say about work, and we should look at a few of its passages.
1. Work is spiritual. "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." (Proverbs 13:4) One of the great mistakes of our generation is dividing the sacred from the secular. As someone has said, "To the Christian every day is a holy day; every bush is a burning bush; and every place is a sacred place." Being a good Christian is not having a good feeling, having a good cry, or making a good speech, but it is obeying the commands of God and doing His work. One can learn all the lingo, attend all the meetings, ride the spiritual merry-go-rounds, give a glowing testimony, and still not be a good Christian. The great test of Christianity is obedience. Jesus said, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." (John 15:14) He also said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." (John 14:15) Work is spiritual!
2. Work is succeeding. The word "work" implies to produce or achieve. The salesman gets no commission for trying to sell. He gets a commission for selling. This means that when we do a job, we are to do it well and point to success.
The question then comes, "How can I succeed?" The first Psalm will answer that question: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Notice also Joshua 1:1-8. "Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of they mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous. and then thou shalt have good success." In these verses we find a guaranteed recipe for success. This is a plan that will not fail.
From childhood one should be taught that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Every job should be done thoroughly and carefully. When you children are growing up and have a task to do, let them carry the task through to completion. They will learn character, and you will gain a helper. This is a very vital part of rearing a child.
3. The worker should do what needs to be done. "And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down." (Proverbs 24:31). No task is too little to demand our best, and no task is too great but what our best plus God is enough.
4. If a person does not work, he should not eat. "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (II Thessalonians 3:10) College-age students who are not studying should not be supported by parents at home. Socialists and Communists who refuse to work are not supposed to eat. No poverty program, whether by church or state, should feed people who refuse to work. We do not help a lazy fellow when we feed him. Rather we help him when we teach him that if he does not work, he does not eat. This is God's plan. Liberal Bible rejectors try to make their own social standards and develop their own social programs, but the Bible still speaks that if a man will not work, he shall not eat. 5. One should learn to work without a boss. "Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler." (Proverbs 6:7) Nothing quite reveals the lack of character in a person more than for him to refuse to work when the boss is not looking. The simple truth is that a little ant has more character than a lot of people. The sluggard should go to the ant bed and look down at the little red insect, salute him, and envy him because he has more character. A person has reached a very sad state when an ant on an ant hill has more character than he. We should work for work's sake, for integrity's sake, for honesty's sake, and for decency's sake.
One of the great problems of our generation is mass production and big-city factories. It often eliminates one's pride in his work and takes away trades, skills, etc. In spite of this, however, one should develop such character that he will do his work simply because he is supposed to do his work. Diligence and discipline should compel us to do our best at every task.
In the training of a child he should be given definite duties. These duties should be outlined carefully so that both child and parent understand. Then the child should be taught what he is to do and how to do it. He should be taught the willingness to serve. He should not be paid for his duty unless his job is done well. The parent should not do the job for the child after he has failed, but rather, the parent should make him do it again and make him do it well.
Work is spiritual. One cannot be a good Christian and not work. One cannot be a good Christian and not obey. One cannot be a good Christian and not do his best at every task.
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