Listen to this devotional:
Proverbs 21:5 – Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. (NLT)
Shortcuts are not always the best course. My brother, children, and I were day hiking in Panthertown Valley near Brevard, North Carolina. The map of the area, while perhaps legible to an experienced map reader, left a lot to be desired for novices.
The trail to our destination meandered over rocky and root-infested precipices that we did not care to repeat on the return journey. We searched for an alternate course. Finding a shortcut, we set out, overjoyed that we would not have to repeat the original route.
Our joy was soon diminished when we encountered a swollen river between us and our intended destination. This was compounded by the fact that it was winter, and the water was icy cold. Not desiring wet feet, we decided to remove our shoes and socks for the foray across. My son, the shortest of our crew, I decided to carry on my back. Our crossing was successful, but I discovered that not all shortcuts are worth the trouble.
Today's proverb is a reminder that prosperity, unless inherited, results from good planning and hard work. Looking for shortcuts results in poverty and disappointment. I sometimes want to take issue with this proverb. I've worked hard, beginning in the preteen years on the ice cream truck with my grandfather. I graduated to bagging groceries in my teen years, and I have been labouring ever since. When I look at what I possess, it appears that I don't have much.
But perhaps I have interpreted the proverb incorrectly. Perhaps prosperity is not designed to be defined by measuring things but in the sense of peace and accomplishment that I have in knowing that I have followed biblical guidelines in attaining what I have — I worked for it.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 – Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat." (NLT)
Prayer: Father, help us to remember that obedience and service are the correct standards for measuring our success. Amen.