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May 22, 2020 1:00 am
Remember leaders and gentlemen, you are performing your vocation and you get up tomorrow morning and were all going to go some called by God, you have a calling from God, get up tomorrow morning and let's in the name of Christ serve him with utter excellence and dedication, passion because we happen to live, especially in this culture surrounded by professional slugger bodies want to put off what needs to be done and avoid the vocation that God has called us to. Maybe when you encounter a slugger you envy wish your life had more time for leisure today were going to explore this theme and consider what we can learn from ants ants may be considered past because they sneak into your kitchen they eat your fruit and cereal, but ants also teach us a lot about discipline and hard work today. Stephen Davey returns to the book of Proverbs with this lesson that he's calling observations from an handheld in a book authored by Chuck Swindoll. He retells the rather humorous anonymous testimony of someone who was overworked and tired of it.
Maybe identify what this disgruntled overworked person had to say and I quote I'm tired for several years I've been blaming it on middle-age iron poor blood lack of vitamins, air pollution, water pollution, saccharin weight dieting wax buildup and a dozen other maladies that make you wonder if it's really worth the effort. But now I found out it's none of those things. I'm tired because I'm overworked and I figured out why the population of this country is around 300 million 98 million retired at least 202 million to do all the work, but there are hundred and 61 million in school which leads 41 million to do the work of this total, there are 22 million employed by the federal government and another 14.8 million people employed by the state and city government, and none of them are doing any work which leaves us with 4,200,000 people to do all the work for million are serving all over the world and the military is at least 200,000 people to do all work hundred and 88,000 of them are sick and in the hospital so that leaves 12,000 to do the work. There are 11,990 people in prison, so that leaves just two people to do all the work you and me in your state in the reading the book. No wonder I'm tired. Well, as I prepared for this particular study. It occurred to me there is a vast difference between being tired because of work and being tired of work permit anybody who worked hard at keeping away from work there probably isn't any better testimony for Christ than someone who works hard enough on the job to get genuinely tired. The average person. I have read in America gets paid for 40 hours a week, but actually works around 30 and is even slipping below that sick days are all used up, as well as vacation days, personal days, holidays, the Bible doesn't recommend that Christians become workaholics as a matter fact, the quantity of work hours on the job isn't as much an issue in the Scripture as the quality of work performed. Paul told the Colossian believers exactly how they were to show up and work on the job. He writes do your work heartily as unto the Lord rather than for men.
Knowing that from the Lord, you will receive your reward is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 323 and 24. Trouble is in the church. We have drawn an artificial line between the secular and sacred. You could get really excited and we do about discipling a group of men God definitely will reward diligence in that, but how does that compare to doing the laundry or the dishes or laying tile or filing a brief we have forgotten that we are not working for men as Paul reminded the Colossians we are ultimately working for God. In fact the Latin word bookcase you, which gives us our word vocation literally means calling a summons to duty. The truth of Solomon had a lot to say with how we live at work. Kind of employee we are in fact read the book of Proverbs, Solomon continually warns his sons and daughters and follow along in his quest for hidden treasure is look at your searching for wisdom there somebody I gotta warn you about he shows up over and over again. One kind of employee you never want to hire.
This is the worst roommate you could ever have in college. This is the most discouraging player on the team. This is the most difficult person to work around Solomon calls him a slugger one word name Solomon describes in with rather bold and Frank language throughout these Proverbs.
In fact, as I was just looking through the different characters that were to begin to study this guy kept showing up.
He appears 16 times in the book of Proverbs, the word sluggard actually is is best defined by the different texts that describe them so will define him by his descriptions that appear chapter 10 verse 26 he could turn there, giving the principal his work patterns are undependable. Chapter 10 verse 26 like vinegar to the teeth and spoke to the eyes. So is the lazy one. There's a word for sluggard to those who send you cannot depend on the schedule of the lazy man. In fact, Solomon specifically refers here in this text to giving him a message to deliver to someone else.
If you use a sluggard to deliver the message, you can end up with your teeth on dad, it'll just set your teeth on edge by his failure to grinder your teeth further notice.
Solomon says you give a sluggard a message to the liver is going on spoke to your eyes and smoke it in your eyes it's staying. It brings tears to your eyes, 20 saying listen to sluggard is gotta make you cry to bring tears to your eyes out of pain and frustration. And here's the point.
Sluggard doesn't even care what's the problem the boss can only bang his head on the wall and takes medicine for ulcers and cry tears of frustration. The work patterns of a sluggard are undependable. Bruce Wilkie said a sluggard is without a moral sense of responsibility to other people. Secondly, the excuses of a sluggard are unbelievable over chapter 22 verse 13 sluggard none like him to work to come up with an excuse.
So what you say, sluggard says there is a line outside be killed in the streets.
This goes way beyond calling in sick. Have you heard this what you're calling in sick is just to plain Jane. None. And I haven't you heard there's a lot I lose if I leave I could be eaten and the boss is thinking.
Try to be okay. If you are to be true. I guess a line could be loose with his excuses are so un-unbelievable that after a while you are simply in all of his creative ability to come up with excuses when author said it's as if the sluggard summons all his creative energy into making excuses rather than making a living believer who is dedicated to professing the glory of God through his bookcase. You is: will tell the truth and he will live the truth at work. Benjamin Franklin once said, he that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.
Thirdly, the spirit of a sluggard is unteachable. Chapter 26 and notice for 16 is getting to the heart and core of the problem. 2616, the sluggard is wiser in his own hands than seven men who can give a discrete or a reasonable answer. In other words, you just try to challenge a lazy woman or a lazy man about their careless work or their late appearances or their failure to meet the latest deadline or turn in the latest report. Whatever you are waiting on a day will respond with more logic and reasoning than seven people combined. Just ask him these your best employee, you just didn't know it.
She's the one who's really working the hardest around this place where you work out how to do anything less and give them the biggest complements and the largest bonuses because if it were for him or for her. The place would fall apart in week just ask the tell you why Solomon said.
Proverbs chapter they are wiser and more valuable in their own eyes than any buddy else and listen to truth is they are actually costly to the company. Their team is always having to pull this guy's weight along. They talk it up but they don't work Solomon reddish everything verse nine he who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys authority indirectly destroys he destroys morale and profit, and he might not be able to track it back to him because he just related to the problem. But if you can finally track it back. She is the issue and they cannot be challenged. They refused to change the have all the answers, the spirit of the sluggard is unteachable before the expectations of the sluggard are unreasonable. There unreasonable.
You listen to a person without any internal initiative.
These are people who lack self motivating object.
But listen to that sluggard, who sits next to you in that college class or work down the hallway from you or across the ladies in the machine shop.
They consistently avoid the hard tasks and the late hours in the library. They refused to pay the price and sweat it out yet they talk about everything they are going to have an aim they have these incredibly high expectations.
He's the one is going to go places you just talk to them at lunch at work. She is on this really gotta make it there going to build this and reach that when this and do that.
I didn't get there and you watch you will see but then you watch their lives at work and discover that they are expecting everything without ever lifting a hand listen without turning. For the sake of time what Solomon says the sluggard chapter 20 verse four does not plow after the autumn but notice this, he asks during the harvest, but finds nothing. He did well he does feel as is where is it I'm ready is expectations are absolutely unreasonable. In chapter 21 verse 25 and 26 says the desire of the sluggard puts him to death all day long. He is craving and hours every day wakes up and he finally gets out of bed and he desires another desire he simply lives a life of coveting what is expectations are unreasonable. His spirit is unteachable. His excuses are unbelievable, and his work patterns are undependable.
So he goes out to a field and it's hard to imagine but he says I have done nothing. I'm ready for the harvest he will expect you as his employer to pay without ever paying in and he can't quite figure out why you might have problem that one more description about the private life of the sluggard and that is its unaccountable private life of the sluggard is unaccountable. Chapter 26 verse 14 as the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed uses the metaphor of a double hinged door lock movement, but that door is really not going anywhere. No forward motion.
This is the sluggard in bed turning back and forth. There's a lot of motion but no forward motion or movement.
Verse 15 he writes the sluggard so lazy that he buries his hand in the dish and is too weary to bring it back to his mouth again. This is total apathy. It's as if you need someone to feed him. He doesn't want to kiss him from the ditch to his mouth. This employee, this roommate. This coworker, Solomon writes, is headed for disaster. Solomon has one solution for the sluggard that he believes the spirit of God through him, will make a difference go back to chapter 6 where he offers this unique solution.
Look first at verse nine. How long will you lie down those sluggard, when will you arise from your sleep. Notice verse 11 your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man. In other words, you are being robbed of an excellent life and you don't even realize the burglar has moved in and is living in your guest room here, you're cutting corners at work or coming in late making up excuses not filling out the did the terms of the contract are deadweight in the board room on the dorm floor you're allowing your life. He says to literally be stolen away verse 10. Well, come on.
Most believe this is the word of the sluggard a little sleep, a little slumber, a little just a little folding of the hands. I'm just mistaken little map. Solomon is not referring to a net brought on by fatigue the end of a long week. Isn't that kind of in that one author writes this commentary, the sluggard will lose his life. Not everything overnight, but just the whiling away minute by minute, inch by inch, just a little here and a little fair. He will waste his life away by degrees. Here is the solution verse six go to the ant oh sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, study, and that's the solution so I did a little extra study on the ant to try to figure out what Solomon might have in mind it's hard to know where to start but I found out some interesting things one single ant colony can include over 5 million busy ants soldier ants to guard the colony worker ants. The they have other jobs to do the cleaning or caring for the Queen and gathering food. All of it implanted in the created instinct by God's amazing Argentine ants keep herds of cows. They are plant lights of the Mediterranean and mixed biscuits from seeds, honey ants store their food and living storage tanks Amazon ants have employees to help with work. There are literally thousands of species I discovered that ants can lift up to 30 to 40 times their weight that we've seen them going across the sidewalk carries a big stop but in terms of understanding what this ratio would be that would be like you and I leaving here going out of the parking lot and lifting an SUV on her back. The lease cutting aunt builds mountains that contain as many as 3000 chambers in house up to 4 million ants one mound that here's the amazing thing look back at your text. Solomon writes in verse seven he says the ants have no chief officer or ruler. Can you imagine the state of North Carolina. Surviving or any state for that matter, without police officers and government officials and civil support systems. Nothing is provided for the ant they do it all themselves and in one colony 4 million can all work together without chiefs, officers and rulers think they just work hard and they get all they need when woman said in a brief story of what happened when she visited her parents home and farm her five-year-old niece had come along and she was really excited because grandpa and grandma were were farmers and the corn was ready to be picked she'd never picked corn shelled so that was good to be excitement, so they went out there and slow five-year-old niece really tore into it at first work was fun, but after a few minutes, this little five-year-old looked up at her grandmother and said you can buy this in the store don't you didn't take long, five-year-old thought it was so used to all packaged in delivered and ready and prepared work is fun until you have to do it. Solomon says, go to the ants of sluggard, observe her ways and find wisdom EY's go to the anthill down what observations can we make about ants and us to give you several quickly number one.
They seem to have an internal eye on the future if you look at verse eight. Here it says that the ant prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provisions in the harvest, that is, they know the season of being able to work and the season when they cannot work. Gathering food will be over when to be great to consider the fact that Christ will gather us before the bema seat and reward us for glorifying the father by our good works for screen is three verse 13 where every man's work will be revealed that we would in fact work for the night is coming, we would have this in turn all clock going that one day we will stand before Christ. Something about numbering our days. David said that gives us a heart of wisdom seems to be this internal clock seasonal clock and it keeps impressing forward and a trip to the anthill would result in some very practical questions. What kind of employee are we.
What's our work ethic.
What kind of student are you what is the teacher think when he or she sees you come in the classroom is your boss think when you show up new passive in the hallway. What does he think of the quality of your work.
Don't forget, according to the word of God.
A review that really matters is not the end of the fiscal year is bema seat of Christ will evaluate not only the work and quality of our hands with the attitude of our hearts.
Observation of two ants labor according to their divinely created: if they are worker ants.
They work if there Queen ants.
They lay eggs if the cutter ants the gutter leaves. If they are army ants that guard the man gets back to this calling of God for the believer euro your vocation, your your calling happens to be your your profession. Whatever it is, as you walk with God are doing right now God in it, consider it a sacred calling, what is the quality what is the excellence of what our hands does, frankly, a lazy Christian is a contradiction of terms your work as a sacred calling from, and unto Christ one more observation. They unite their efforts in pool their strength and resources. I have watched and aunt struggling under load and you just watch and another one will come along and their neck and arm wrestle to see you Hester. They're just gonna both start caring and then another one comes along and before you another carrying the picnic basket away. They work together well. What a great illustration for the family at home and family, church, if if the church if if our church was effective today in demonstrating the grace of God in delivering the truth of the gospel.
It was because there were more than a thousand people. We didn't see who were doing a thousand different things will never be rewarded on the platform. The probably get go unnoticed by the majority. The church of the faithful service working even if they aren't rewarded on this planet. Matters to them. I'll try to wrap it up here with this but this is a great illustration of the critical nature of our work in the gospel and the why we should serve with excellence. The Texas Army National Guard I'd never heard of a group of people that allow them to stay alive there group of special workers called rigors. Their job is to fold and pack the parachutes. The soldiery get to use with a jump from an airplane 5000 feet.
These people are intensely dedicated to their task.
In fact, they have a creed. The rigors creed is, and I quote I will be sure always. They know jumpers need assurance that everything regarding her she was perfect thing and there's no room for error in in in the 20 minutes it takes to meticulously pack and MC 11 military parachute exactly 30 falls are required in a certain way so the rigors creed further states, I will never let the idea that a piece of work is good enough.
There could be no compromise with perfection made you think will now wait a second little too perfectionistic for me. Not if you jump out of an airplane with her work on your back, suddenly very important. How perfect it was. Can you imagine being told. You're the guard. Listen your parachute was packed by that sluggard over there.
We think he stayed awake, did 30 falls generally loses track doesn't usually count. It'll be okay now. His work matters to you and so our work matters just to one another, but to God. If God would take note of the ant and two men them to us.
Imagine what we mean to him she remember ladies and gentlemen, you are performing your vocation and you can get up tomorrow morning and were all going to go to be summoned can be called by God, you have a calling from God, get up tomorrow morning and let's in the name of Christ serve him with utter excellence and dedication and passion because we happen to live, especially in this culture surrounded by professional sluggard so and so glorify our Christ in one day. One day, can you imagine standing before him and hearing him say well done good and faithful servant.
That's true isn't there would be no better way to be welcomed into heaven than to have Jesus say to you. Well done. What is God called you to today. This is wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi.
Stephen is currently working through a series on the topic of wisdom from the book of Proverbs.
The series is called the quest for hidden treasure. And he's entitled today's lesson observations from an anthill if you had to step away for a few minutes or if you joined us late.
You can go online and hear this message on our website. Our address is wisdom online.org and on that page, you'll see a link for today's message. Anytime you miss our broadcast. I encourage you to keep caught up with our series by listening online. By the way, there are many other things on that website that might interest you. We have a resource section with all of Stephen's books, commentaries and Bible study guides. We also have the audio as well as the written transcripts of all Stephen's teaching and those are available free of charge. The address once again is wisdom online.org and you can access that site any time. It's encouraging for us to hear from our listeners and learn how God is using this ministry to encourage you in your faith. You can write to us through our website, you can post a comment on our Facebook page.
Or you can call us at 86 648 Bible if you like to write cards or letters. You can address it to wisdom for the heart PO Box 37297, Raleigh, NC 27627. I hope your weekend is filled with God's blessing will be back on Monday to continue through this series. So join us then here on wisdom marked