Read: Proverbs 6
Key Verses: Proverbs 6:6-11. “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
Devotional: I love a good nap. You know what I’m talking about right? One of those rainy day, window cracked, shades slightly pulled, fan running in the background kind of naps. I almost slipped into a nap as I wrote that.…excuse me while I wipe the drool from my mouth. Naps for me are great but if I’m not careful I can allow those “short naps” to develop into more of a mindset for my week. In other words I can get lazy pretty quickly.
We live in a day and age where lots of people want things handed to them. I’m not talking about the “widows and the orphans” that Jesus so clearly commands believers to look after (see James 1:27). Jesus makes clear that those on the fringe of society are to be taken care of by the church. I’m talking about people like you and I who can get lazy when it comes to getting things done, especially when no one is looking. We long for the consistent "rewards of work" while fail to consistently produce a "quality of work".
Let’s imagine a scenario where the boss is away for the day and things around the office have, how shall we say, “relaxed” a little. People let their hair out, shirts might come untucked a little, ties are loosened, everyone breathes a collective, “sigh of relief”. Does the work still get done? Sure it does, but perhaps not as efficiently as it would if the boss were around.
This really has everything to do with our motivation. Why do we work so hard when the boss is around? Do we put in the extra effort only if we’re sure that it will get noticed? What if we know that no one is watching, does our work ethic shift to a lower gear? These are tough questions to answer but God’s Word makes clear that you and I as believers are called to work at everything as if working for the Lord (see Colossians 3:23).
The Proverbs gives us a powerful example of what our work ethic and motivation should look like in the tiny ant. Ants scurry around gathering, preparing and storing for the coming winter out of necessity. If winter hits an unprepared ant colony, it’s "Adios" to the ants. While our laziness could probably go undetected for some time and our families would likely continue to eat three squares a day, our motivation should be higher than mere survival. As believers, we work hard not to survive but to thrive. When we work as if working for the Lord we thrive in our spiritual development. When we work hard at our jobs even when the boss isn’t looking, rest assured that others are looking. Co-workers and those in your office who are evaluating what it means to be a Jesus follower based on how you act, are sitting up and taking notice.
Take Action: Take some time to evaluate your level of dedication and hard work when the bosses are watching and when they are not watching. Are they different? Make a list of those in your work community who could be taking notice of your work ethic? Would they see an accurate representation of what it means to be a Christ follower by watching your life and work ethic?
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