WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 15, 2021
TOPIC: WORK HARD BUT WORK WITH WISDOM
BY T. O. BANSO
“The labor of a fool so wearies him [because he is ignorant] that he does not even know how to go to a city” (Ecclesiastes 10:15 Amplified Bible).
One of the important keys to success in life many people often emphasize is hard work. Laziness is condemned. The Bible says because of laziness, the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks (Ecclesiastes 10:18). It also says in Proverbs 19:15 that laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.
Therefore, the Bible encourages believers to work; and not just to work but also to work hard. “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave” (Proverbs 12:24 New Living Translation). Hard work is very important in living a meaningful life. As the Bible says in Proverbs 13:4, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied” (New Living Translation).
However, as important as hard work is, it is not a guarantee for success in life. There are many people who are working hard but don’t seem to have anything or much to show for it. Such people, out of frustration, will easily dismiss the counsel that one must work hard to succeed. But that will be wrong. It is not that working hard is a wrong counsel as some would believe; the problem is that it is incomplete counsel. Hard work is just one of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle for success. One would be naïve to think that one piece of hard work will solve the puzzle.
Some people are already working hard and, maybe, working harder than they are even supposed to. But something is missing. It could be that such people are not working wisely. Wisdom! They could be labouring but not laboring with wisdom.
For instance, one could be sweating profusely to open a door. He could be trying his best but he will never be able to open the door except he forces it open and, probably, destroy the lock as long as he is using the wrong key. Someone who holds the right key will open the same door easily.
If someone is trying to start a car that has no fuel, no matter how much he works hard starting it, it will never start. Something is missing. He doesn’t need to work harder. He needs the wisdom to confirm if there is fuel inside the car and if not, to go and buy fuel and put it inside the car. Any hard work other than that is working in foolishness. Some people are laboring today, and in fact, working hard, but without wisdom. They are laboring foolishly. They are wasting their energy and other resources without any appreciable result.
Such people should not dismiss the counsel to work hard but should ask themselves what they lack, just as Jesus told that rich young ruler he lacked one thing. They should ask themselves, and more importantly, ask God and maybe some persons who should know more than they do, what they are supposed to do that they’re not yet doing. “‘There is still one thing you lack,’ Jesus said. ‘Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’” (Luke 18:22 New Living Translation). Unfortunately, this man wasn’t ready to do what Jesus told him to do. He went away sorrowful because he was very rich.
Ask God for wisdom concerning your work or a particular assignment that is giving you a serious challenge. Your legitimate work is His work. James 1:5 says if any lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. Don’t labour as a fool; be wise. Ask God for wisdom. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Matthew 7:7).
Ecclesiastes 10:15 says, “The labor of a fool so wearies him [because he is ignorant] that he does not even know how to go to a city” (Amplified Bible). From this scripture, we see that a fool works so much that he wearies himself. He doesn’t have to but he will because of ignorance. Have you seen an ignorant person trying to do something? He wastes energy, his time, and the time of others and wastes materials as he engages in trial and error to do what he does. But a knowledgeable person will do the same thing in less time and without wasting resources.
This scripture tells us that the labour of a fool so wearies him because of his ignorance that he does not even know how to go to the city. That’s serious. He must be so tired – not because the work is so much or tedious but because he is ignorant. We must not just work hard, we must work wisely. Otherwise, our hard work will amount to a waste.
Don’t despise wisdom in the performance of your work whether you’re a pastor, teacher, barber, accountant, lawyer, doctor, engineer, or whatever youare. It will determine largely whether your efforts yield appreciable results or not. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed” (New Living Translation). Did you see this? The King James Version says, “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.” Wisdom will give you direction.
A wise person will ensure his axe is well sharpened before he starts working but a fool considers this a waste of time and maybe a waste of money if he has to pay for it to be sharpened. He goes immediately to work because he wants to finish his work early. But he ends up dissipating more energy and spending more time. If he eventually finishes, he is worn out. He is penny-wise pounds foolish. He may spend more money on medicine than he needs to sharpen his axe.
Wise people sharpen their axe by going for training and retraining, they acquire and study materials to upgrade their knowledge, etc. But a fool doesn’t regard this as important. Therefore, he continues to do something the same old way that is not working and wonders why he is not getting results. Hard work is not enough. Hard work will lead to frustration where someone is working in folly. “But wisdom makes things go well” (Ecclesiastes 10:10b Bible in Basic English). Wisdom exceeds folly, just as light exceeds darkness (Ecclesiastes 2:13).
Another translation of Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success” (Holman Christian Standard Bible). If your axe is dull, it is useless working hard. Go and sharpen your axe and then return to work. Ecclesiastes 9:16a says wisdom is better than strength. You may need to benefit from someone’s wisdom. So talk to someone in your field. He could be your mentor or a senior or a colleague. After all, the Bible says as iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27:17).
If only we could see Moses sweating as he judged the Israelites alone, which prompted his father-in-law, Jethro, to correct his method! He was working so hard but apparently, the result wasn’t commensurate with his efforts. Jethro told him what he was doing was not good and both Moses and the people who were with him would surely wear themselves out because the work was too much for him to perform alone. He then advised Moses to delegate his authority to appoint people who met certain criteria he listed. These people would judge the people at all times while Moses would judge only the great matters brought to him. Moses listened to the voice of wisdom (Exodus 18:17-24).
Labour wisely; don’t wear yourself out. Solomon appreciated the importance of ruling his people with wisdom. Therefore, when he had the unique opportunity to ask God what He should give him, he asked for an understanding mind to govern His people, so that he might be able to discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people? (1 Kings 3:9). God was pleased with this unselfish request and granted it, giving him in addition what he didn’t ask for.
Proverbs 3:13 says how blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. Are you just working hard or you’re wrking wisely? Will you get more results than you’re getting now if you could do better what you do? Do you think your current challenge or problem in your work, project, or career, is because of a deficit of wisdom? Are you going to continue to waste your strength using your dull axe or you’re going to take some time to sharpen it? What specifically are you going to do to sharpen it?
May the Lord make you like the sons of Issachar, men who had the understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do (1 Chronicles 12:32). Work hard but work with wisdom.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me not to labour as a fool. Deliver from ignorance that could frustrate my efforts and make success elude me. I receive the wisdom that guarantees success. Show me what I need to do or who I need to meet to excel in my career, ministry, or whatever I do. I shall not suffer from a deficit of wisdom in Jesus’ name. I shall work hard in folly.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947