PROVERB PRACTICALS God’s Gift is Work, Proverbs 10:16,17, Audio
Proverbs 10:16, The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
We are well aware of the commandment of God that instructs us that our life is to be composed of six days of work followed by one day of rest.
We so much focus on the day of rest that sometimes we forget that we are to work six days.
But God’s commandment concerning rest is no more important than God’s commandment concerning work.
But in our modern world we see Satan at work trying to undo God’s commandment as to our work and rest patterns.
Satan desires that we fit into the latter part of this proverb concerning the wicked rather than the first part which concerns the righteous.
Satan is committed to undoing every commandment of God for he has no concern for you and presents patterns of life that will bring sorrow and misery.
But our loving God has so ordained a pattern of six days of work and one day of rest for our good.
God’s requirement for his creation to work has been with us since the creation.
God directed Adam and Eve to dress and to keep the garden that he had planted in Eden and this direction was given before they had sinned.
And again after they had sinned and were expelled from the garden God told them that their work was now to be conducted under more difficult conditions but He was doing this for their own good.
Remember Gen. 3:17-19, And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
God told Adam that the ground was cursed for his sake.
Sin had now entered the picture and in order to lessen the sin that was to occur on the earth, God brought forth thorns and thistles to the ground that the ground would not so easily yield its fruits as it did in the garden.
Work was to be more strenuous for Adam’s sake that sin would be lessened.
This was an act of love on God’s part and that act is reflected in our proverb which tells us that the labor of the righteous tendeth to life.
God gave labor that life would be enhanced and extended.
So work is a constant in God’s economy.
Now in the Christian era we are told that we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
Now these good works will not cease simply because we leave this body in death or by the rapture for we will always be in Christ Jesus and good works for God will continue in eternity.
That pattern that God has established in the garden of Eden will continue for we read in Rev 22:3 that His servants will serve him.
Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew that he who has been faithful over a few things, I will make him or her ruler over many things.
Will our service be confined to this planet or will the new garden of Eden be the totality of God’ creation?
Does God intend for the righteous to dress and keep his great creation of galaxies and stars and planets, which at this time we can only gaze at from the confines of the earth?
Paul saw a bit of our future work when he declared in:
Ephesians 2:6,7, And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Just as Adam was to tend the garden we may find ourselves tending God’s greater garden that we can only marvel at in our bodies of sin.
So work is a gift, work is what we are intended to do throughout eternity.
Work is for our good, work is to be the primary emphasis in our lives.
Some unknown author has written this:
Work is man’s great function. He is nothing, he can do nothing, he can achieve nothing, fulfill nothing, without working. If you are poor—work. If you are rich—continue working. If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities—work. If you are happy, keep right on working. Idleness gives room for doubt and fears. If disappointments come—work. If your health is threatened—work. When faith falters—work. When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead—work. Work as if your life were in peril. It really is. No matter what ails you—work. Work faithfully—work with faith. Work is the greatest remedy available for mental and physical afflictions.
And God has given us work for our sakes, for the labor of the righteous tendeth to life.
But it is not be any old labor, it is to be labor for the same God for whom Adam labored.
Adam and Eve dressed and kept the garden for God, who we are told walked the garden in the cool of the day.
The Garden of Eden was God’s garden and he enjoyed the garden and enjoyed the work of the hands of Adam and Eve.
If you have a garden I suppose God enjoys walking though it and seeing your labor enhancing his creation.
Labor for God is work that is connected to the eternal.
It is labor whose extent reaches into everlasting life.
Jesus told the people at the shores of Galilee: John 6:27, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
This kind of labor tendeth to life.
We are told to Occupy till He comes.
We are told to do all to the glory of God.
We are to be busy about the Father’s business.
This is what defines the labor of the righteous.
This is also what contrasts the labor of the wicked.
That labor which tendeth to life is labor that is done in us by Christ.
Isaiah 26:12 says, LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
And I John 4:9, In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
The righteous man works in and through Him.
Our labor is God’s labor, labor that has been accomplished by dependence upon God.
Romans 8:13 compares the labor of the righteous against the labor of the wicked,
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Paul knew that his labor was God’s labor for he said in I Corinthians 15:10, But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
And again Paul preached this same message in Galatians 2:20, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Certainly the scriptures teach that the labor of the righteous tendeth to life: but in contrast the fruit of the wicked, to sin.
God has eternal plans for his people and the labor of the righteous fit into those plans.
But Satan has no such plans for he has no such power.
The labor of the wicked tendeth toward sin and the only eternality of sin is that which is found in a place called Hell, a place that was made for Satan and his followers.
Unless labor is done in Christ Jesus it is the labor of the wicked.
Unless labor is done in you by the grace of God through the power of God’s spirit it is the labor of the wicked.
Proverbs 21:4 says, An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
The plowing of the wicked is not done for God’s glory.
But only that labor that is done in Christ Jesus is for His glory.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) said this:
God’s will is that all labor be done for His glory. It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty. To go to Communion worthily gives God great glory, but to take food in thankfulness and temperance gives him glory too. To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a dungfork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, gives him glory too. He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should.
But the wicked plows for self.
He plows not for God but only for this life and only for self.
He sows to the flesh for the spirit has not been made alive by the miracle of the new birth.
Galatians. 6:7,8 says, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
The labour of the righteous indeed tendeth to life: