“Do Not Overwork” Proverbs 23:4
Start by praying; expressing your need of His help and provision in this time of your life. Express your Thankfulness, Gratefulness and Worship Him for all the good things you know He does for you now, and those secret things you don’t know about. Expect the Lord to come alongside in real ways as you work through this lesson concerning balance in your life today.
“Christ Strictly Warns Us: For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
The message is clear – don’t get snared into giving up time with your spouse and family for money and things: have balance! So many men need to ask themselves this question every day – “am I in balance?” Balance is the mastery of priorities. It takes an open and willing heart to tithe our time across the numerous opportunities life presents us. I remember taking many a Saturday morning visiting every Sunday School student in my class if possible. Along the way I also built several successful businesses. How did I do it? Priorities. I set out to put God’s Kingdom first and as He said; all this other “will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:23) I rarely worked weekends; God opened those to spend with family. As Proverbs 11:28 informs us – “Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.” The Holy Spirit is qualifying this scripture with a negative and a positive. The negative, placing your trust in money rather than God will cause a fall. But the righteous (the one who trusts in God rather than money) will flourish. That sounds like a promise to me, will doesn’t mean maybe. It takes discipline to follow through, but like the promises in Malachi 3 where God says “trust me in this” will prove out. Further, any step you take in this direction will cause issues in the beginning. Our enemy knows such, so stay the course and in prayer and many blessings will flow!
“Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.” (Proverbs 11:28)
The Shoe Salesmen
There was a story once told of a man in Denver who was known as the most successful shoe salesmen in America. Another interested businessman decided to visit this gentleman and try to find out his secrets. He entered his office and eventually got around to asking him how he was so successful. At this the man turned around and simply pointed to a sign on the wall behind his desk, it read as follows:
#1 God #2 Family #3 Shoes
Psalm 127:2 tells us:”It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth his beloved sleep.” And further, in Psalm 39:6 we are informed: “Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them.” All I’m saying here that as we “run to and fro throughout the earth” chasing things that may be of very little value in the scheme of eternity, keep in mind; “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you” in due time.
I can imagine one of the first things our Lord will say to us when we get to heaven will be: “friend, why were you running around everywhere while you were on My earth, did I make something wrong there? Wow, why did I run everywhere and not slow down and play with my children & grandkids, enjoy my wife’s company and visit with friends? Why was I always in such a hurry and what will it be like in heaven when we supposedly have all the time in the world?
A Story about balance from a Pastor
After attending church one Sunday a marginal parishioner decided he was going to settle this balance issue and seriously work on his relationships and walk with Christ. As a high-level executive, his work and private life was lived through a schedule book. When he met with the Pastor, the conversation soon came around to his growth in Christ and as a father and husband. Pastor asked him what he thought the issue was. The man told him that he just couldn’t find the time to spend doing things for his spiritual walk because he was so busy, but wanted this with all his heart. The minister responded to the effect that if growing in God was a priority, it needs time just like the other things that are in his schedule book. This struck the man. He had been thinking that God was too high and mighty to just have a time slot in his book, so he said “Ok Bill (the pastor), you’re right, I’ll put God in my daily schedule” and so he did.
Soon after, his life started changing for the better. He now seemed to have more time than ever! God was blessing him with amazing efficiency everywhere he turned. Now he had more time with his wife and children, more time to think and even relax. He could now do things that he had set aside for years because he had been a slave to that schedule book and work, mostly without God in his life!
A few years later the minister and this man were not in a coffee shop but in a hospital room. This busy executive was now facing eternity. He thanked his friend over and over with tears in his eyes that he had convinced him to put God in his schedule. These last year’s he had given to God proved to be the some of the most important he had ever spent in his life. Ecclesiastes in Vs 2:10 & 11, written by Solomon, the richest man that ever lived tells us:
“I did not restrain myself from getting whatever I wanted; I did not deny myself anything that would bring me pleasure. So all my accomplishments gave me joy; this was my reward for all my effort. Yet when I reflected on everything I had accomplished and on all the effort that I had expended to accomplish it, I concluded: All these achievements and possessions are ultimately profitless—like chasing the wind! There is nothing gained from them on earth.” Solomon concluding in 9:9: “Enjoy life with your beloved wife all the days of the fleeting life which has been given to you under the sun—all your fleeting days. For this is your portion in life and in your labor under the sun.”
In other words, Solomon says our relationships are our real value in life.
The Busy Banker
Keith was a very successful mortgage banker. He flew around the country selling million $ mortgages to the rich and famous for their mansions, had an extravagant entertainment budget and lived the dream life. Only problem was, he didn’t feel like this was where God wanted him to be. One day driving to work he gave it all up to God promising no matter what the outcome, he just wanted what God wanted in his life. Just previous he had had a conflict with his boss over ethics. He wasn’t about to compromise and cave to his boss’s wishes in order to sell more. When he got to work that morning, he walked into a pink slip. Well now he had a dilemma…be careful what you pray for! In the end he went to work for a respected organization selling home mortgages to average folks and testified that in the end, the satisfaction gained from this humble vocation far exceeded any satisfaction received in his prior position. He shared that as a youth, he had grown up in very humble means as happy as a prince, and now he could help others do the same.
A Dr. Weatherhead calculated the average length of a life using an 8AM to midnight period illustrates the importance of recognizing the value of time. He concluded that if your age is 15, the time is 10:25 AM, if 20, 11:34, 25, 12:42. if 30, the time is 1:51, at 35, the time is 3:00PM. At 40, it’s 4:08. If 50, 6:25, by 55, it’s 7:24. 60, 8:42. At 65, it’s 9:51 and finally at 70 the time is 11PM nearing your midnight.
Psalm 90:12 says: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” Speaks volumes.
The 9:59 Plan
This is a simple way to begin spending time with God. Just take 10 minutes a day when you get up in the morning and prepare for it. Don’t turn on the TV, radio or look at your phone for messages. Find a Scripture like the Proverbs chapter of the day date and read through it. God put 31 chapters in there for men or women to read. Now pray for your family by name; parents, children if you have them, grandchildren and so forth. Pray for your spouse, work associates and even difficult people in your life. Maybe add the countries leaders also. Praise, thank and worship God in this time. Amen!