Thoughts on Proverbs-God’s Lifestyle Design

A statue of a guy in a suit holding an umbrella and pointing upIt used to be that all good Christians went to Bible College once out of High School.  Anyone who was spiritual in any way would want to be a pastor or missionary (or nowadays play a guitar).  Church is a bit different these days, though we still send people to ministry schools or internships.

Since many in the world spend their early 20s wandering a bit “sewing their wild oats”, what better way to go find yourself than spend a couple weeks in a third-world country or a year or two spent in God’s presence?

But as we get older and explore career options, we find there are positions God has called people to that have nothing to do with church.  Like my honest mechanic who helps people out on expensive repairs when they need it.  Or it could be a dentist who gives people without healthcare a break.  This is much needed ministry.  It’s an important calling to reach out in the marketplace and give to the local church or just causes.

Proverbs for a young man going after his purpose is like cold Gatorade on a bike ride on a hot day (I like the new “cucumber-lime” flavor myself).  It’s the lifeblood.  It hits on the career and business issues never talked about in spiritual circles.  I love church, I love worship, I love passion, but if it’s not paying the bills, I have to seek God’s wisdom in these less “spiritual” subjects.

Mark Driscoll giving some tough love:

Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.”  Perhaps there are dreams and visions within through the years that we never knew were there.

I’m learning something else, context.  Individual verses can have whole messages in themselves, especially in Proverbs.  But when you start looking at the surrounding verses you get new meaning from the individual verse.

Verse five have a great message, but if you look at verse four you’ll be encouraged to work at it.  “A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing”.  In essence both verse four and five are saying the guy who’s just farting around through life won’t find the financial freedom God intends.

But when a man works hard to prepare for the future, God knows the heart and will help him draw out his purpose with time, often only revealing little pieces of information as the story develops.  This plowing in season could be studying in college, working and saving, putting together a creative project, researching and investing, laying the foundations for a business, or building a network.

“Lifestyle design” seems to be the hip thing to write about these days where you run a mobile business and travel the world.  Nice thought and it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.  While I’m not so tied to the work ethic that I shut down my brain to new ideas, not just anyone can just drop what they’re doing and bring their laptop to the beach.

The other day, we were having a conversation at the warehouse about how instead of doing menial tasks it would be so cool to work for a start-up and feel passionate about what you’re doing.  But do you think in the early days of Apple when these guys worked on code till 3:00 in the morning with Steve Jobs yelling at them, that they knew they would change the world?

Verse six also brings out meaning when interwoven with the story of the context.  “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”  Between these three verses I see the story of God pruning a man over the years, bringing character, work ethic, honesty, and destiny to accomplish HIS purpose in the world.  This could be raising a family, working a stable job, entering politics, planting a church, starting a business, writing a book or whatever other grand purpose He’s destined for us however out-of-the-box it might become.

So here’s a new twist.  How about follow God’s lifestyle design?  He already “designed” your life so you might as well work with him on your “lifestyle”.  Put Him first.  Matt 6:33 says seek Him first and all these things (clothing and food) shall be added to you.

The Christian lifestyle design often has us switch fields every few years.  God might call a successful businessman to the mission field.  A successful youth pastor to plant a church.  He might even call a pastor to the business world or medical field.  Something that completely stretches us and has us take leaps of faith.  But something greater than before.

Journeys in the dark are not fun. You might not enjoy that feeling of aimless direction while God works things in you through the years while you pursue Him.  It gets better though.  Even if you haven’t arrived at the destination, the journey gets a lot more fun when you get a clearer picture of what’s ahead.

Whether in the night, the morning or the day, just remember His goodness.  He is faithful and true.  And remember, whatever you do in life, however busy you get, always find time for God’s presence.

How is God stretching you in your own path?  If you’ve journeyed in the dark in the past, what did you learn?

Category: Dreams and Goals, Money and Business, Spiritual Thoughts | 1 comment

  • Bill Hubert says:

    Your post was very informative thank you for that