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Providing: It starts with Work

Via Flickr, by user maveric2003. Used under Creative Commons License.

God has a master plan for your money, and the first priority in that plan is to provide for your needs. If you are responsible for a family, you have to provide for them, too. So, how do you go about doing that?

It all begins with work.

Sometimes, we Christians like to believe that God will provide for and take care of us no matter what. In some circles, people take an extreme position, believing that God is going to miraculously bring the resources that they need into their lives, without them having to do any real work. And while God is certainly able to do miracles and provide for us in abundance, the Bible makes it clear: His chief way of providing for us is through our own work.

Consider Proverbs 28:19

‘Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.”

I can’t think of a much clearer way of saying it. Work=abundance. Laziness=poverty.

For those of us seeking to handle our money in the best way possible, this is an encouraging verse. We have God’s promise here that our hard work will lead to provision for our basic needs (“abundant food.”) That’s a good thing to know — as long as we are faithful to work hard, God is faithful to provide. I don’t have to worry about my family starving. I know that as long as I uphold my end of the bargain, He will be good for His.

A couple of interesting things to note: The scripture refers to those who work “their land.” God has given us each “land” to work — a particular job, profession or calling that is specially designated for us individually. That means that there is something in your life, your workplace or your sphere of influence that is your responsibility to accomplish. Throw yourself into that work, and provision will come. (Also, a side note: it’s important to make sure we’re working in the right areas. If we have been equipped for a certain type of work, but neglect our gifts for some reason, how can we expect God to bless the work that we are doing?)

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The verse also helps us put our dreams into context. It warns that people who “chase fantasies” will end up broke. Does this mean that we shouldn’t dream big and have big goals? No; it simply means that we shouldn’t let big dreams get in the way of working our land. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming — dreams are the seeds that can grow into our greatest achievements — but if we always dream and never work, we find ourselves on the fast track to poverty.

The Bible has a lot more to say about work, and the role that it plays in our financial success. Proverbs makes many points about diligence (hard work applied faithfully over time). God tells us that diligence brings wealth; that diligent planning leads to prosperity; and that diligence can propel us to the top in life. Laziness, on the other hand, always leads to poverty.

Here’s a great way to sum it up: God is responsible for providing for our needs. But we are responsible for positioning ourselves in the place where His provision is going to come. If God’s plan is to provide for you at the office, the factory or the farm, what are you doing on the couch?

Up Next: “I need” vs. “I want”


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  One thought on “Providing: It starts with Work

  1. Jon Fox
    December 2, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Great points! I wonder how much emphasis there should be on our “land” being God-given “land”? Is the point to make sure we are working on what God gives us to work on (which I’m sure happens)? Or is the point to make sure that we are working and NOT being lazy? Just thinking out loud!

  2. February 26, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Proverbs are not promises.

    • February 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Bob, if “all scripture is God-breathed,” (II Tim. 3:16) then there is as much authority in what He says in a proverb as what He says anywhere else in Scripture. I believe that everything God says is a promise, because His words never fail; rather, they accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sends them (Isaiah 55:11).

  3. April 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Sometimes these issues do not seem cut and dry to me. For instance I am praying to know the Lord’s will about my current job. I am a teacher and my husband is a pastor. However, I am so busy that I often do not have time at home to enjoy any family time. I know that the Lord has lead us to foster and/or adopt children (we have biological son right now). Also, my sister is quite ill and needs someone to stay at home with her during the day. I am left with the obligation both to care for my family and to provide for them (as my husband does not make enough at a small church to support us). I appear to be unable to do both at the same time. I do not desire to be lazy, yet I do not know what to do. Sometime it is not simple.

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