Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10
No matter where a person looks there are people working. Many are working for pay and many are working without pay, but for need or pleasure. While working for pay is needed, there are also many other types of work that people can do without pay.
Some common types of work without a direct paycheck are cleaning the house or dishes, gardening, taking care of the lawn, cooking a meal, maintaining a car, and much more. For some people these things can be a hard task to accomplish, while for others it is a great pleasure.
However, in both types of work, many people try to do as little as possible.
Solomon says that a person must do the work with all of his abilities and strength. The reason is that there will come a time when one cannot work.
Believers, just like non-believers will often do the minimum work possible. They want to get by as easy as possible, not putting their heart and efforts into their work.
Several thousand years later, Paul said that everything a person does should be done as if doing it for the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). This is everything that a person does, regardless of pay or no pay.
Doing one’s best shows love and concern for God and for others. It does not cheat anyone in anyway, but is always giving the best. This is what God did in sending His Son Jesus. This is what Jesus did in giving His life for all people. They gave their best.
There will come a day when one cannot give or do anything anymore. Today is the day to do it and do it with all of one’s strength.
Everyday you will have tasks to be done. Some you will receive a paycheck and others it is volunteer. Regardless of the pay or lack of it, you must give it your best abilities. You are not on this earth for eternity, there is a time limit.
While you have the ability to do something, do it with all of your abilities and strength. Do not put of until tomorrow what can be done today. And do not do it with only have the heart or strength.
God has given you a work to do, now do it with all that is in you.
I pray today that you will know what God has done for you; that you will work as unto God; that God will give you strength to do the work He has for you to do; and that you will not cut corners, but give all your work the best as unto God.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
Being offended by something is common among many people. They like their way of doing things and way of thinking. When someone else does or thinks differently, they are offended that someone could be that way.
Words are often spoken that are truth, but contain some ugly fact about someone or some event in them. People desiring to forget the past, will often quickly take offense to what is said, forgetting the real truth.
Once a person becomes provoked or offended, they will often quickly say or do something that is wrong in retaliation. This is where many fights and battles begin, is in retaliation to an offense.
In this passage today, one is told not to be quickly provoked. The anger that arises in provocation is something that only fools possess.
Sadly many believers are very quickly provoked to anger. They will very quickly take offense with the way a non-believer lives or wants things to be. Instead of showing love and care, they strike back in anger with words and sometimes actions.
This not only happens outside the church, but often occurs within the church. People take offense with the pastor or other church members. They do not like the way something is said and get angry. Then they talk about the offense under the pretense of care or concern, but rather as gossip and causing division among the believers.
Every believer is supposed to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. One of the results of being filled with His Holy Spirit is the fruit of peace. This believer will be at peace and remain calm when someone tries to provoke or offend him.
Jesus had every reason to be provoked, but He remained in control and did not retaliate in anger.
Allow yourself to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit and filled with the peace Jesus gives you. There will be days when someone will do or say something to provoke you to anger. Sometimes this will be on purpose, other times it is just who they are.
Do not allow yourself to be quickly angered, becoming a fool and making a bad choice in word or action. Allow God to control your emotions in the situation and choose to walk the path of love and compassion.
Allow God’s peace to reign in your heart and mind.
I pray today that you will know God’s peace in your heart; that God will give you strength to overlook an offense; that God will help you to chose love over retaliation; and that your choices will reveal God’s character of love.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Over the last few weeks I have looked at the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy and peace. Now I will be looking at forbearance or patience. The NIV translates the word as forbearance, while many other translations translate it as patience. Both carry the meaning of holding up under pressure or during trouble without anger, anxiety, or frustration.
Patience is something that is not often seen in this fallen world. Things cannot happen fast enough. No matter how fast something is, in a short time people want it to be faster.
Take a look at computers and how fast they are today compared to forty years ago and yet, people complain that they are not fast enough. Or look at the speed of driving down the road. Regardless of how high the speed limit is, there are some who will drive faster.
The patience in these situations are just with things. People are also lacking in patience when it comes to life situations. Promotions do not come fast enough, someone does not return a text or phone call fast enough, a person is not checking out fast enough, and the list goes on indefinitely.
Others are also not patient with themselves. They did not learn fast enough, they did not change fast enough. They were not successful enough or some other fault that they see in themselves.
For many believers a lack of patience is found in waiting for a person to change a habit or for God to answer a prayer.
In all of these ways and many more people are not patient.
The bible is filled with examples of people who were patient and those who were not patient. Joseph was given a vision of him being a ruler. Before that came about he was thrown into slavery and into prison. But after many years of patience, he became the second in power over Egypt, only under Pharaoh.
David was anointed to be the next king of Israel. He had to run for his life for many years before he became king. He had multiple opportunities to seize the throne, but he would not take it by force. David waited for God to hand it to him. He waited in patience for God to move.
Job went through may trials and a lot of loss in his life. Yet, he waited patiently for God to restore him and stop the trials. He refused to curse God in his struggles, even when he did not understand what was going on or why it was happening.
The ultimate example of patience is Jesus:
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2b-3
The ‘enduring’ in these verses is patience. It is putting up with trouble and keep going forward without anger or frustration.
Jesus had taken on the all the sin of every person for all time and the anger of God the Father’s wrath against that sin so that you and I could have forgiveness and life. As He did that, He did not complain or murmur. He took with patience and love.
Now with describing patience from the bible and examples of how patience was displayed, what does that mean for you and I?
Good thing you asked! We are to live our lives just as Jesus lived His…with patience. So what does that look like?
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9
If one is patient, he will not be quickly provoked to anger. In other words he will not get angry when someone does something wrong or does not change like he thinks they should.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
It takes a lot of patience to keep doing what is good and right. This is especially true if the person who you are doing good to is not grateful or despises you. Be patient because there is a reward for you from God if you do not give up.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
God is love and we are to be like God—love. Everything that we say and do or do not say or do not do must be done out of love for God and for others. When we have the enduring perfect love of God in our hearts, we WILL be patient with ourselves and with others.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
When you are anxious about anything, you are not at peace. Something is wrong and you are worried about it and striving to change it. Instead of being anxious bring it to God with thanksgiving and allow Him to deal with it and guide you through the situation. Relax and be at peace about it, rather than uptight and anxious. God is in control, let Him be.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
You will have afflictions, sicknesses and problems, Jesus promised that you will have trouble. Be patient. It will not last forever, though it may feel like it at the moment. Hold on and be patient because God is in control and is bringing you through the situation.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7
People will do wicked things. Good people in the church will do mean things or wrong things. Be patient and wait for God to move. Don’t forget God is in control of every situation. He sees what is going on. Be patient as you wait for Him to take care of the situation.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
You do have faults, but God is working on you to fix them. He is building you into the image of Jesus. Do not be so harsh and impatient with yourself, but keep moving forward in Jesus with His Holy Spirit growing and changing daily. God will finish the work in you He set out to do. Be patient with yourself.
There are many other verses throughout the bible that talk about patience. Take the time to look them all up.
Seek God in learning to have the patience that the Holy Spirit can bring into your life. In order to get it, remember that you will have to go through some tough struggles challenging your patience. You cannot learn patience without a struggle against it. People and situations will challenge you.
Satan does not want you to be patient, but to blow your top and get angry, causing you to say and do things that are sinful. He wants you to fail and he will do what he can to bring that about.
Hold onto God and be led by His Holy Spirit and you will have patience.
When you are bearing His fruit of love, you will have joy. When you are bearing the fruit of joy, you will have peace. When you are bearing the fruit of peace, you will have patience or forbearance. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and bear His fruit. It is worth.
Thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Please feel free to share this with someone who can use it. Any comments or thoughts will be appreciated.
Next week I will be looking at kindness. I hope to see you then.
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10
Chasing after wealth is one of the greatest dreams of many people. People want to get rich as quickly as possible. Gambling and lotteries are mega-billions of dollars a year industry, because people want the money and think that they can get it.
Those working always want a higher paycheck, more money per hour than what they are getting. When a person gets a pay raise, he is excited at the moment, but a few months later wants another pay raise. People often view another person’s pay and want that much or more.
It is often viewed as though a person deserves more than what they have or can get. This is regardless of how much one already has.
The richest man who ever lived realized that loving money is meaningless. One can never have too much or even ‘enough’, he always wants more.
Money and wealth are things that are very temporary. One can have a lot of money today, but tomorrow after a disaster strikes, be completely broke.
And there is never ‘enough’ money. No matter how much a person has, there is always something else that he does not have and would desire. There is no contentment.
Believers are often seen being discontent with their finances and wealth. They are desiring more, because their neighbor has more.
However, the believer should put all of his desires into God and His kingdom. Money and wealth are very temporary, but God’s kingdom is eternal. The souls of men are eternal.
Living for God and building His kingdom gives satisfaction and eternal results. Fighting for money and wealth only lasts a short time.
One must put his trust in God and be content with what God has blessed him with. God will give each person what he needs.
God has blessed you in many ways. The greatest blessing is eternal life, if you believe in Jesus and follow Him. Hold onto that blessing.
With salvation in mind, chase after building His kingdom and becoming more like Jesus everyday. These things will have an eternal impact and last for eternity.
Don’t chase after things of this world that will only last a short time and never really satisfy your soul. You are made for greater things than money and wealth. Chase after God.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will find purpose in God; that you will find satisfaction in serving God; that you will chase after the things of God; and that God will help you keep money and wealth in the right perspective.