Wisdom applies faith to our circumstances, literally sticking God’s character to our challenges, like a post-it-note adhered to our calendars. Solomon taught how to combine God’s heart with street smarts in our work ethic, as our Heavenly Father connects our vertical commitment to Him with our horizontal encounters. Solomon observed: “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank” (Proverbs 22:29). Hard work helps.
How do we become skilled in our work? We work hard, work smart, and give credit to God. Solomon taught: “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4). Hard work develops our God-given skills and helps us wisely manage conflict. Second, we work smart. Solomon continued: “He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son” (Proverbs 10:5). We have often heard this verse summarized in the axiom, “Make hay while the sun shines.” Working smart delights our coaches, managers, and employers: “A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant arouses his fury” (Proverbs 14:35). Finally, we give credit to God. Solomon shared: “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31). When we work hard and work smart, all credit belongs to God who graciously provides us our time, talent, and treasure. By humbly accepting this truth, we are much more effective in developing our skills because those we encounter are drawn to the Holy Spirit in us.
Fully surrender the development of your skills to the One who makes a king your friend (see Proverbs 22:11). Work hard: Schedule time in your calendar to go the extra mile in your relationships. Start your day an hour earlier to focus on growing your skills. Read the Bible, pray, seek a mentor in your chosen area of desired growth. This time will increase the intensity of your focus during the day. Work smart: Don’t perpetuate bad habits, becoming trapped by the tyranny of the urgent. Define and prioritize the most important values in your life. Find a wise confidant to help you with a hard reset of your calendar to include what you value most. Delegate tasks that drain you to someone who would be energized by them. All the while, give credit to God your Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, and Restorer.