Sometimes I’m sitting here wondering about the little choices I make and how they affect my life. My days tick by so slow and yet fast at once and I have stacked dishes, hung washing, tried to speak gentle words to a toddler, to discipline both her and myself, to show diligence in my here and now.
I’ve been on a mission to gather together, to collect the Scriptures of Proverbs, like a hound on a trail, to find out what discipline and diligence looks like. Two words I believe that have the power to propel us forward, words that need to become a two pronged fork in our lives. All last year this theme hounded me as I heard from Biblical teachers that were looking at in their own lives what good stewardship looked like.
God promises to pour out favour on our lives, and yet those stories of the man with the talents haunts me and I wrestle with what our part in this is. Is it simply to show up and put our hand to the task God has given us? One foot in front of the other?
The question that I wrestled with most was how as Christians when we have so much of God’s favour available to us, how could we sometimes be so far ‘behind’ those that didn’t? And I figured that as much as God’s favour was a key, good hard work was too; and time management.
The Scripture has show much to say about diligence. (All verses NKJV)
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labour – Prov 12:24
The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession. – Prov 12:27
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth –
The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt – Prov 12:27
A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied – Prov 13:4
The plans of the diligent lead to profit surely as haste leads to poverty – Prov 21:5
I expected to go on and discover that I needed more schedules, rules and regulations in my life to live in a disciplined way, but the further I dug into what it means to live disciplined, the more I discovered that in Proverbs at least, living disciplined was to live an instructed, corrected or chastened life. A life where we are willing to heed Godly counsel; as nearly every instance of the word discipline in the NIV could be substituted for the words correction, instruction or chastening in other versions.
Still, in the Old Testament, God’s people were used to living by rhyme and routine. 6 days work, one day rest, and they had many holidays and Sabbaths instituted by God, the feasts, to keep meaning in their life. It gave them time to reflect and think on God at regular intervals, and in many ways I think we’ve lost this. (Muddhouse Sabbath is a great book that delves into some old Jewish traditions that we’ve lost and what we have to gain by at least thinking about them.)
So then how do I tie this all together for moving forward into this New Year? How do I do my part and yet let God do His, and open doors that are bigger than what I can manage?
I’m going to keep praying the prayer from 1 Chronicles 4:10, that a man named Jabez first started praying.
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
I was praying this in our early marriage and somehow got disillusioned. I was starting to think it was a lot of fuss about nothing, when I found a book called in the op-shop and decided to give it another chance. To be honest praying this prayer freaked me out because what if God enlarged my territory and I couldn’t handle it?
I’m thankful that I decided to keep reading because Beyond Jabez digs deep into the original Hebrew to explore what this prayer is actually saying, and it really has helped me to understand the balance between God’s favor and miracle provision and how we need to be good stewards and work hard.
As I’ve started praying ‘the Jabez Prayer’, I’ve seen God open guest posting doors for my blog that I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to open for months, but it has also meant I’ve needed to manage my time better to keep up with these doors.
- So, I’m going to learn time management from someone who understands my season of life with little people. Beth Anne Schwamberger’s Time Management Mama, is on my reading list for this month.
- I’m going to keep researching what God says about money, wealth and diligence, straight from His Word.