Work for It (Proverbs 10:4)
The Bible is very clear about the difference between someone who is poor and someone who is merely lazy. Many people have nothing because they make no effort to help themselves. This is unacceptable. Yet, there are a lot of lazy people in our society.
This issue often becomes political when it’s actually a Biblical issue. God expects us to work with all of our skills to provide for our family. Then we are to teach our family to provide for themselves, and that should continue into future generations. To instill this value in our children and help them appreciate the difference between laziness and hard work, it’s a good idea to work together as a family to accomplish chores and other projects around the house.
Getting your children involved may slow down a task a bit or mean that something isn’t done exactly as you would have liked it. But remember, that’s okay because in the long run you are teaching them how to work. Focus on the big picture. That’s most important.
Give a child everything, and they will never stop taking. Teach a child to work, and they will never stop giving.
Points to Ponder
- How do you define a hard worker?
- What age-appropriate chores are your children learning?
- What is a way that you could work together more as a family?
Taken from Once a Day Nurturing Great Kids
How to Hate Your Life
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24–25)
“Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” What does that mean?
It means, at least, that you don’t take much thought for your life in this world. In other words, it just doesn’t matter much what happens to your life in this world.
If men speak well of you, it doesn’t matter much.
If they hate you, it doesn’t matter much.
If you have a lot of things, I doesn’t matter much.
If you have little, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are persecuted or lied about, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are famous or unheard of, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are dead, these things just don’t matter much.
But it’s even more radical. There are some choices to be made here, not just passive experiences. Jesus goes on to say, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me.” Where to? He is moving into Gethsemane and toward the cross.
Jesus is not just saying: If things go bad, don’t fret, since you are dead anyway. He is saying: choose to die with me. Choose to hate your life in this world the way I have chosen the cross.
This is what Jesus meant when he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). He calls us to choose the cross. People only did one thing on a cross. They died on it. “Take up your cross,” means, “Like a grain of wheat, fall into the ground and die.” Choose it.
But why? For the sake of radical commitment to ministry: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). I think I hear Paul saying, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me — if I can just live to the glory of his grace.”
Two years later, the cup-bearer remembers Joseph in prison. After Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, Pharaoh makes him ruler of Egypt.
Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.”
After interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph gave the king a survival plan for the next fourteen years. Joseph helped Pharaoh to prevent starvation through careful planning; without a plan Egypt would have turned from prosperity to ruin. Instead, Joseph used his knowledge of God’s plan to prepare in practical ways that would save the nation.
Pharaoh recognized that Joseph was a man “filled with the spirit of God.” You probably won’t get to interpret dreams for a king, but those who know you should be able to see God in you through your kind words, merciful acts, and wise advice. Do your relatives, neighbors, and coworkers see you as a person in whom the Spirit of God lives?
Joseph rose quickly to the top, from prison walls to Pharaoh’s palace. His training for this important position involved being first a slave and then a prisoner. In each situation he learned the importance of serving God and others. And when Pharaoh promoted him, Joseph was ready to serve the whole nation. Whatever your situation, no matter how undesirable, you can make it part of your training for serving God.
What is God’s training for you? How is God using your present circumstances to prepare you for future challenges? Thank him for bringing together all things for your good and his glory (Romans 8:28).
Sing When the Shadows Fall – Streams in the Desert – May 21
I call to remembrance my song in the night (Psalm 77:6).
I have read somewhere of a little bird that will never sing the melody his master wishes while his cage is full of light. He learns a snatch of this, a bar of that, but never an entire song of its own until the cage is covered and the morning beams shut out.
A good many people never learn to sing until the darkling shadows fall. The fabled nightingale carols with his breast against a thorn. It was in the night that the song of the angels was heard. It was at midnight that the cry came, “Behold, the bridegroom comes; go ye out to meet him.”
Indeed it is extremely doubtful if a soul can really know the love of God in its richness and in its comforting, satisfying completeness until the skies are black and lowering. Light comes out of darkness, morning out of the womb of the night.
James Creelman, in one of his letters, describes his trip through the Balkan States in search of Natalie, the exiled Queen of Serbia:
“In that memorable journey,” he says, “I learned for the first time that the world’s supply of attar of roses comes from the Balkan Mountains. And the thing that interested me most,” he goes on, “is that the roses must be gathered in the darkest hours. The pickers start out at one o’clock and finish picking them at two. At first it seemed to me a relic of superstition; but I investigated the picturesque mystery, and learned that actual scientific tests had proven that fully forty per cent of the fragrance of roses disappeared in the light of day.”
And in human life and human culture that is not a playful, fanciful conceit; it is a real veritable fact.
–Malcolm J. McLeod