Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 27 (NIV)
27 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. 2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips. 3 Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. 4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? 5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. 7 One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. 8 Like a bird that flees its nest is anyone who flees from home. 9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. 10 Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away. 11 Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt. 12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. 13 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider. 14 If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse. 15 A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; 16 restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand. 17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. 18 The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. 19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. 20 Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes. 21 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise. 22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them. 23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; 24 for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.
25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, 26 the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. 27 You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family and to nourish your female servants.
What is the proper balance between hard work and God’s provision?
Heavenly Father, When You created the world and everything in it in six days and then rested, You gave us an example of how we are to work. Help us to keep the proper balance in our life’s work so that we always put You first. What we do and how we do it is a reflection on our relationship with You. You detest people who cheat, lie, manipulate, steal, and destroy others to gain wealth and power. Keep us from pride and self-importance. Let us be thankful for the blessings of each day not boast about tomorrow, for we do not know what tomorrow may bring. You honor those who work hard with integrity. You use the people we work with and for, the skills we gain and the services we provide as a way to sharpen the tools that You have given each of us. Inspire us to work hard and efficiently to provide the work that we are paid for but help us to keep borders between our work and our families. Help us to set aside time daily and weekly to cherish those who we love unobstructed by our careers. Help us to cherish time of rest in You. Jobs do not last forever, but our relationships will sustain us. Help us to remember that the work that we do, the pay that we receive and the benefits of our labor are all gifts from You. Thank You Lord for providing for our needs. Let us use our gift of time and skills for Your glory. Let us use the results of labor to bless our families, our church and those in need. We praise You with a thankful heart for all that You have provided. Amen