Think of it this way . . .              

When we part, we may say to the other person, “Take it easy.” But the Bible says, “You lazy people, you should watch what the ants do and learn from them… how long are you going to lie there?” (Prov. 6:6,9 ERV). We didn’t mean don’t try to be industrious and do good. Or, we may say, “Don’t work too hard.” But the Good Book states, “Those who work hard get plenty” (Prov. 13:4). So, we don’t literally mean don’t work at all, do we? And we’ve all heard that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and the rebuttal, “Yes, but all that hard work and no play made Jack!” Then, apostle Paul said, “I’ve learned to be satisfied with what I have and with whatever happens.” (Phil. 4:11). Had he reached a certain level of performance and could, then, just coast on through? I don’t think so.

So, which is it? It’s not necessarily ‘either, or’; it’s more like: ‘both, and.’ It will us help to scrutinize and understand the definition of the words that we’re using. Paul’s word, satisfied (or content), is not the same as sluggish, (or lazy). Like Paul, we can learn to be content with our circumstances but not satisfied to stay in those circumstances. That’s where we find the happy medium. We understand Paul’s meaning this way: it’s contentment in the face of suffering for doing what’s right – it’s contentment in the face of discomfort while trying to improve ourselves – constantly trying to do our best to get better in our chosen fields of endeavor. Consider the following divine instructions:

                    “Lazy people will cause their own destruction because they refuse to work.” – Prov. 21:25

                    “We don’t want you to be lazy. We want you to be like those who, because of their faith and patience,                                      will get what God has promised.” – Heb. 6:12

We understand, then, that the idle loafer won’t win the prize, but the arduous enthusiast, with determined zeal, will receive the promised blessings. Another statement from Paul:

                    “I don’t mean…that I’ve already reached perfection…but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past                                     and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the                                               heavenly prize.” – Philp. 3:12-15 

 May I urge you then, keep on keeping on, Children; your reward will be great!

-John D.

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