“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
Proverbs 13:4 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you had a blessed week. I have been writing on the topic of “thankfulness”. This may not be directly related to thankfulness. However, I can make a connection by saying that most people who are thankful for opportunities, work to use those opportunities to the fullest. Make sense? LOL. I hope so.
Now, let’s look at Proverbs 13:4. It is a verse of comparing and contrasting those who work hard and those who are lazy. It is implied that both the sluggard and the diligent have dreams and wishes about their life. They both may have a wish list of things they want. They both may want things like a high sum of money, a good job, a nice house, a new car, and a dream lifestyle. They may both want great relationships with God, friends, and family members. I think we all have hopes, dreams, and desires at times. However, the difference comes in the amount of work that one is willing to put in to get the things they want.
The first part of Proverbs 13:4 (KJV) says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing:”. This makes sense. Those who are not willing to do anything won’t end up with much as a result.
I know what you are thinking. Okay, maybe I don’t. But… you might be thinking that there are some people who are born into money and seem to get anything they want without lifting a finger. How does this verse fit into their life? Well, you might have a different thought, but I am thinking that even though they may not lift a finger for what they get, their heart may not be happy and satisfied with what they are getting. They may want to be out there making a difference. They may want to be out of the “castle”, so to speak, and to live like “the rest of the world”. We don’t know their heart’s desires. So, it is wrong to assume that they are getting what they desire, just because they are wealthy in monetary value and seem to be spoiled.
So, does sluggard mean someone who does nothing at all? I don’t think this is necessarily true. I think sluggard could also means someone who does the least amount possible or those who try to find the easy way out. I think a sluggard might be someone who works hard for maybe a few days or weeks and expects to have as much as someone who has worked a lifetime. A sluggard might be someone who isn’t focused and who jumps from one thing to another to another and doesn’t work on one desire for very long. It is someone who ends up spinning their wheels and digging a rut, because of the lack of focus and diligence on one goal. I also think that we need to really look sometimes, because it might feel like we are being diligent, but we are really being more of a sluggard.
In contrast, the last part of Proverbs 13:4 (KJV) states, “but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat”. To put this in simple terms, it means that those who work hard will reap a big reward for their efforts. This makes sense as well. Often times, people will give up before reaching their goal or chooses another goal thinking that their goal isn’t quite right. Yet, a diligent person will work at it and stick with something until achievement. Sometimes, a goal and its path need to be adjusted. However, a diligent person will know that and be willing to do that as well. I think a diligent person also makes allowances for various contingencies in order to get to the end goal.
A diligent person might also be considered as someone who has “all their bases covered” so to speak. They especially know that prayer and a relationship with God is their best resource in choosing and working towards a goal. If we have goals that align with God’s will for us, we will be more apt to be able to achieve what we want as well. Being diligent might be a “mindset” as well as actual work. A diligent person might work “smart” as well as hard. He or she might utilize all the given resources and opportunities, including things like prayer, faith, courage, and obedience, as well as the actual physical work.
Another thing to remember is that a diligent person keeps working even when he or she doesn’t see success. God might be showing them that they are really working for a more heavenly goal than the one they think they want. Just because a person may not be in a season of monetary wealth and may not feel successful, or may even be in a time of trials, doesn’t mean that he or she should give up. A diligent person will pray for guidance and keep on going in the direction God calls him or her to go.
I have one last thought about Proverbs 13:4 and it’s message. I think that we can’t judge a book by its cover. We can’t necessarily look at someone and tell whether they are a sluggard or a diligent person. Remember the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was in the kitchen doing things and preparing things. She thought that Mary was being lazy in not helping her. However, Mary was doing something. She was listening, learning, and following Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42)
Thank you for being our Provider, our Heavenly Father, and our Creator. Thank you for giving us a road map to follow and being our Guiding Light down the path of life. Help us to be the diligent person in life, instead of the sluggard. Help us to know that diligence isn’t just an act, but also a mindset. Help us to do our due diligence in heeding your Word and your will for us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 13:4 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 13:4 mean to me?
*Am I a sluggard or a diligent person?
*Do I seem to achieve my goals and get the desires of my heart?
*Do I agree that diligence is a mindset as well as the act of working?
*What other verse or verses remind me of Proverbs 13:4?
*How can I better heed the words in Proverbs 13:4?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy ponderings on:
*2 Corinthians 13:5
Now, it is your turn:
I am so thankful that you are here. In a post like this, please know that I am not judging. I offer these posts so we all can self-reflect on our own actions or inaction, pray, and ask for guidance from our loving Lord. I pray that God speaks to you and blesses you through this time of pondering and self-reflection.
If you feel called to do so, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I am always looking for what you might want to ponder next. I enjoy digging deeper into God's Word. I hope you enjoy it with me.
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“When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”
John 6:12 (KJV)
How are you? I have been writing posts on the topic of thanksgiving during the month of November. At first glance, John 6:12 might not seem like a topic of thanksgiving. There is no word that resembles “thanks”, “thankfulness”, “thank you”, “thankful”, “giving thanks”, or “thanksgiving” in the verse. Yet, to me, it fits in so many ways.
Let’s refresh our memory about what happened before this verse. Jesus just fed about or over five thousand people starting with five barley loaves and two small fish. (John 6:9-10) Now, we are hearing that there are leftovers.
Before we dive into meaning and thoughts about John 6:12, let’s think about our food practices for a moment. How often do we forget that we have something in the fridge and it gets pushed aside just to spoil? How often do we have leftovers and not want to eat them, so we just throw them away?
I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving Day is a prime time to have leftovers. And, once we look into it and ponder it awhile, I think we will see that John 6:12 has more to do with thanksgiving than leftovers.
So, what can we learn from the words in John 6:12? Well, from the first part of the verse we can see that the people were filled. It wasn’t just a snack or a crumb that Jesus gave the people to “hold them over” until they could eat again. They were filled!
I have to wonder just how thankful everyone in the crowd was that Jesus gave them such a gift. I mean, not only did Jesus perform a miracle right in front of them, but also they got to eat of its bounty. It must have been an awesome experience!
From the words in John 6:12, we can also tell how Jesus feels about wasting food. The Bible has a number of verses about not wasting things, so I am guessing that waste of any sort is not anything that Jesus likes. We can learn from this verse, that it isn’t good to be wasteful.
Also, I think being wasteful is not a way to show thankfulness. Remember, Jesus gave thanks for the barley loaves and fish before they were multiplied. Did people give thanks after they were received? Would they have thrown away the leftovers if Jesus hadn’t told his disciples to go pick up them up? What do you do with your leftovers?
I can’t help but think that maybe this verse is about more than food. I think we can look at it and also ponder how we look at everything God gives us. Are we wasteful about our home, our family, our vehicle, our friends, our possessions, our body, our land, or our time? Are we wasteful of our thoughts, emotions, spirit, presence, or life? Are we wasteful of our skills or talents? Are we wasteful of our impressions, expressions, guidance, or care?
There are many ways to be wasteful. It isn’t just throwing away leftovers instead of eating them or forgetting that something was in the fridge and letting it go bad. Wasteful can be in many forms. It can be in the form of not keeping up the maintenance on your vehicle or not letting things get in a state of disrepair, so they don’t last as long as their potential duration. Being wasteful can come in the form of not valuing a person, their talents, or skills that God puts into your path. Wastefulness can come in the form of not embracing the “personal development” opportunities that God puts in front of you. I am thinking about all those times when God says to reach outside of our comfort zone and rely on Him and we say…. “No, we are too scared.” I am sure we could spend all kinds of time pondering about the meaning of wastefulness. There are so many ways to be wasteful!
Now, let’s consider not only our own wastefulness, but also the wastefulness of those around us. Are we convicted for just our own wastefulness or are we also convicted for not trying to dissuade the wastefulness in others? It might seem like we are only convicted about our own wastefulness. After all, in Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV) we read, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” That doesn’t sound like we are to be convicted for other people’s wastefulness. However, we also have verse like Colossians 3:16 which tells us to admonish one another and Hebrews 10:24 which tells us to provoke each other to do good things. So, maybe we are convicted if we don’t at least encourage others not to be wasteful or show them that it isn’t a good thing to do. Maybe we can even brainstorm ways to be less wasteful. And, of course it is always good to encourage each other to use our gifts, talents, blessings, resources, knowledge, thoughts, feelings, time, and life to the fullest.
There is something else about John 6:12 that we can wonder. Do you know what it is? Are you wondering it too? We all know that God knows all and can do all. He knew how much each would eat. So, how come when He multiplied the fish and barley, He didn’t make just enough? I know I sometimes make extra on purpose, so that I can use it for multiple meals and in different ways. That way, I don’t always have to cook every meal. I can just pop something in the microwave. (Well, my hubby does most of the cooking, because I don’t care for cooking. But… I have cooked and have done that, and so does he.)
But, it isn’t like the disciples were just going to gather the leftovers, wrap them in foil or plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge. They gathered the leftovers into baskets, which they would probably have to carry for quite a distance. So, why create the extra food, so that they would have to carry it?
Obviously, we may not ever know the real answer to that. We might not even be called to question it. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t to teach us multiple things. Maybe it was as pragmatic as the fact that He knew that Jesus and the disciples would need food to eat later on. Maybe it was to tell us that it is okay to have leftovers and they should be valued as well as the original meal.
The reason could be something above and beyond the pragmatic though. It could be that God wants to show us that when we give thanks, when we ask, and when we have faith, that He can and will give us even something even better and even more than what we ask. It could be to show us that He is an awesome God and cares for us and provides for us more than we can ever imagine. What do you think?
Thank you for being such an awesome God. Thank you for creating us and for providing for us. Thank you for the meaning blessings, gifts, and resources you give us. Thank you for the love you have for us. Thank you for your Word and for your Son, Jesus. Help us to not be wasteful, but to be thankful and value the gifts you give us instead. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for John 6:12 (KJV):
*What does John 6:12 mean to me?
*What are all the ways it means to be wasteful?
*Am I wasteful?
*In what ways and in what areas of my life am I wasteful?
*Do I encourage others to not be wasteful?
*Am I thankful for the gifts and blessings God gives me?
*What other verses remind me of John 6:12?
*What other verses help me to understand John 6:12?
*What can I do to better heed the words in John 6:12?
If you liked this post, you may also like the following posts:
*2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Now, it is your turn:
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Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great week! And... remember to be mindful about wasting. God bless.
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Colossians 3:17 (KJV)
How are you? I am enjoying these posts on thankfulness. I hope you are enjoying them too. I don’t know about you, but God is convicting me and changing my heart as I research and write about these verses. I hope we all have a more thankful heart by the end of this month.
In last week’s post, I pondered the words in Ephesians 5:20. You can read it here. The words in Ephesians 5:20 are quite similar to the words in Colossians 3:17.
Let’s think about the reasons we do things for a moment. When we are children, many times we do things because our parents or teachers tell us to do them. Now, we may do things to please our spouse or to keep our jobs. We may do things to make our children happy or to help them. We might take care of ourselves better for our children, so we can be there for them longer. We might even do something just because we enjoy it. What are some of the reasons you do things?
These are considered very good reasons. However, it may not be “THE reason” we are called to do things. We are called to focus on God, even more than on our parents, teachers, kids, bosses, or selves. God may ask us to do the same exact things. He may remind us of the love of our family and the righteousness in having integrity in our selves and in our job. Yet, we are called to do things “for Him” and in Jesus’ name.
It is easy to think that we can do this or that for a family member, a friend, and an employer. We can “see” them and touch them physically. And, it may be easy to think that we are going to church or feeding the poor “for God” or in Jesus’ name. Although, we are called to do more “for God” and in Jesus’ name than just the “churchy” and “volunteer” type things. We are called to do ALL things for God and in Jesus’ name.
So, what does that mean? It means that everything we do or say we do it for God and in Jesus’ name. Why am I trying to lose weight? I am trying to lose weight because God has asked me to be obedient and be healthier. Why am I writing this blog? I am writing this blog because God has called me to write it and to encourage others to read the Bible and pray more. Why do I try to be a good wife? God has called me to be a good wife. We are called to do every thing, from the most impressive and exciting to the most inconsequential and mundane, for God and in the name of Jesus.
It may be more difficult for us to do things for God instead of for our family, for our friends, or for our boss. At first, we might not know that we are called to do things for God. However, once we do know, it can still be difficult. It might be so ingrained in us from our culture and upbringing to do things for those around us, that we might forget that we are called to do things for God. We might feel strange or afraid to say that we are doing things for God, while our culture still says to do things for those around us and for ourselves. Or, because we don’t physically see God and we do our family, it might be hard to remember to do things for God instead of those around us that we do physically see.
Yet, the more we build a relationship with God and the more we get close to Him, the more apt we are to remember to put Him first and to do things for Him. We will pray in the morning and ask God what we can do for Him during the day. Then, we will be more apt to do each thing that we do or say for Him. Not only will we be more apt to do things for God, but we will also be more apt to do things better. After all, aren’t we more apt to do things better for those we love, for those we respect, for those we admire, and for those we want to impress?
So, let’s look at Colossians 3:17 more closely, before I close this post. The first part of Colossians 3:17 (KJV) says, “And whatsoever ye do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”. I have touched on quite a bit of this already. (In the last post, I gave a link to a great explanation for doing things in the name of Jesus and what it means. You can read my last post here. However, in this post, I will ponder the words myself.)
So, what does it mean to do things in the name of Jesus? We may all have our own answer to this. For me, it is doing something as Jesus has shown us to do, because He has called us to do it. It is doing something with Jesus’ power, strength, peace, or will. It is doing something because Jesus died on the cross for us and we are so thankful. It is doing something because we are Jesus’ brothers and sisters and we are called to the same mission of loving our Father in heaven and building His kingdom. It means doing something the way Jesus wants us to do it because we are proud to be on “team Jesus” and want to do everything we can to stop, put down, dismiss, and overcome “team devil”.
I hope I said that well. What do you think? What do you think it means to do things in the name of Jesus?
There is one last point to Colossians 3:17. Not only are we called to do everything in the name of Jesus for God, we are also called to do it while “giving thanks to God and the Father by him”. I know that some of the things we are called to do aren’t very fun. We might be called to do some very difficult, mundane, strenuous, emotional things during some times of hardship, displeasure, fear, and awkwardness. However, even then, we are called to do everything while giving thanks to God. (I gave more thought to the thankfulness while pondering Ephesians 5:20 in the last post. You can read it here.) For me, this seems like the most difficult part. We aren’t used to giving thanks in difficult times. What do you think?
Thank you for your heavenly Word and your precious gift of Jesus, your only begotten Son. Thank you for showing us your will and guiding us through your Word and prayer. Help us to “remember” to do things for you and in the name of Jesus. Help us to focus on you, even more so than the loved ones that we can physically see. Help us to do all things for you and with you. And, help us to be thankful to you as we do the things we are called to do. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Colossians 3:17 (KJV):
*What does Colossians 3:17 mean to me?
*What does it mean to do all things for God?
*Do I do all things for God? (If no, why not?)
*What does it mean to do things in the name of Jesus?
*Do I do things in the name of Jesus? (If not, why not?)
*What does it mean to do everything while giving thanks to God?
*How are we called to give thanks to God even in difficult times?
*What other verses come to mind when I read Colossians 3:17?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Colossians 3:17?
If you enjoyed this post, you may like the following similar posts:
*Focusing on God
*Doing things in Jesus' name
Now, it is your turn:
I am so thankful that you are here. I feel blessed to be called to write the Faith Blog. I believe that we are called to encourage each other in the Word of God and to help each other through life. I hope that the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations encourages you to read the Word of God, to pray, and to put on the entire armor of God more than you do already. Lean on Him and let Him bless you. God bless.
If you feel called to do so, please leave a comment. I am always interested in your thoughts, ideas, questions, and understanding surrounding God's Word and what we are called to do as Christians.
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“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
Ephesians 5:20 (KJV)
How are you? As I mentioned last week, I thought it would be a nice idea to have a group of “thankfulness” posts this November, since we think of November as the month of thanksgiving. Last week’s post was on Psalms 105:1. You can read it here, if you haven’t already.
This week’s verse is Ephesians 5:20.
In Ephesians 5, Paul writes lists of things we should and shouldn’t do as Christians. One of those things that we should do is to give thanks to God, as we see in Ephesians 5:20. In the previous verse (Ephesians 5:19), we are called to do things such as “speaking to [ourselves] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [our} heart to the Lord;”. So, are these things suggested ways to “give thanks” to God or other things on the list of things to do?
How do you give thanks to God? I think that Ephesians 5:19 can be taken in both ways. I think that singing psalms and God’s praises can be one way that we give thanks to God. I think that any time we thank God, show Him appreciation, rely on Him, testify of His love, and give Him the glory; we are giving thanks to God.
Although, if we look closely, Ephesians 5:20 tells us more than to “give thanks to God”. It also tells us to give thanks “always” for “all things” unto God. Hmmm. Being called to “give thanks to God” might sound easy enough to do, especially as you are growing in faith and knowing that we have so much about which to give Him thanks. However, giving thanks “always” and for “all things” might sound more difficult.
So, are we called to say “thank you God for…, thank you God for…, thank you God for…, thank you God for…, every minute of every day about every thing that we experience whether it is good or bad? You might have a different perspective on it, but I think it is taking it too literally and out of context.
I think it is good to realize that we have so much about which to thank God, including for our life, skills, talents, world, friends, family, and so much more. It is good to realize that the things “we accomplish” and the things “we do” couldn’t be done without God. We are His creations and He has created us to be able to do the things we can do. So, yes, I think God wants us to learn to be humble and thank Him, giving Him the credit instead of taking the credit for ourselves. And, just as most of us would thank someone for a gift or a kindness, we are also called to thank God for gifts and kindnesses.
Okay. Being thankful often might be something we can learn to do. But… are we really called to give thanks for all the bad things we experience too? My thought? I think we remember that God doesn’t “give us” all the bad things. However, He does help us through them. And, He uses them as “teaching tools” and uses them to “help us grow closer to Him”.
So, I think we need to be thankful, even in difficult times. However, I think we need to watch what we say and how we say it. For example, if we have a car accident, I don’t think we would say, “thank you for this accident”. God didn’t make us or give us an accident. I think we would rather say something like, “thank you for helping me through this accident. Help me to be thankful that it wasn’t worse. Use it to help me get closer to you”.
There is one thing more that we are called to do in Ephesians 5:20. We are called to give thanks in Jesus’ name. I found a post by Pastor JD Greear that explains this part very well. Please, click here to read it.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for giving us your Son to be, not only our Lord and Savior, but also our ultimate role model and guide to you. Help us to heed your calling to give you thanks always and help us to do so no matter our circumstances. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Ephesians 5:20 (KJV):
*What does Ephesians 5:20 mean to me?
*How do I give thanks to God?
*What does it mean to give thanks to God always?
*What does it mean to give thanks to God in all things?
*Do I really have to give thanks for “bad things” too?
*What does it mean to give thanks to God in the name of Jesus?
*What other verse or verses remind me of Ephesians 5:20?
*How can I better heed the words in Ephesians 5:20?
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy one of these posts as well:
*Do We Claim to be Self-made or God-made?
*3 Things We are Called to do in Psalms 105:1
Now, it is your turn:
I am so glad you are here. I hope you are enjoying the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you feel led, please feel free to comment or contact me. I look forward to reading what you have to say. May God bless you and guide you.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.