Teaching Your Teenage Son About Work
May 31, 2017
A man works hard; a boy is a slacker
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” ~ Proverbs 14:23 (NIV)
“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” ~ Proverbs 10:4 (NIV)
As a man, God has made you for work. Working hard with your own hands to provide for your needs and the needs of your family is central to what it means to be a man. You have been called to be both a protector and a provider for your family.
One of my good friends was independently wealthy, and did not need to work a single day in his life. (To his credit, he developed a successful career as a pastor and then a counselor, refusing to coast on inherited wealth.) I wasn’t in his position. If I didn’t work, my family didn’t eat.
I’ve never regretted that, even for a single day, and never wished I could have traded places with him. I drew great satisfaction knowing that my wife and my children were depending on me, and that I was taking care of them. “The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on” (Proverbs 16:26, NIV). I like to eat, and I wanted my family to be able to eat, and that drove me to work hard.
In fact, I’d urge you not even to think about retiring. Sure, you may reach a point where you can slow down, and may shift your energies to a different kind of work. For instance, I have a good friend who “retired” from a long and successful career with a high tech firm, but soon found himself working as an administrator in his local church. As men, God made to engage in productive work as long as God gives us breath. As I used to tell the men in my church, don’t retire, reload.
Some people wrongly think that work is a consequence of sin, but that’s not what the Bible teaches. God placed man in the garden of Eden “to work it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:16), well before sin entered the human race.
Now to be sure, sin has made work more difficult than God intended it to be. Because of Adam’s sin, God said, ”Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:16-19).
Notice the promise God has made to us here. Even though work will be tiring and frustrating at times, nevertheless God assures you that through your hard work “you shall eat.”
There is no job that is free of “thorns and thistles,” little things that keep a good job from being a perfect job. I was talking with a friend of mine once, back in the 1980s, before the era of computers had arrived. He was an insurance adjuster, and he loved every part of his work except for one thing: his employer insisted that every form he turned in had to be filled out in triplicate, meaning he had to turn in three copies of every form.
In those days, he had to use a typewriter and carbon paper, which had ink that kept getting all over his hands. It was a perfect job, except for that one little thing, and it aggravated him no end. Every job you ever have will have its thorns and thistles, its carbon paper, but my friend worked hard at his job and it enabled him to support himself and his family.
And so it will be for you. Your “thorns and thistles” may be difficult bosses, difficult coworkers, and maybe even forms you have to fill out. The point is that even a good job is not going to be a perfect job. But stick with it, power through it, and you will learn what Solomon teaches: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).
Your first job will be doing chores for your folks. Your dad will be your first boss. Learn how to take correction from him and make it your aim to please him by doing your chores faithfully and well. You’ll begin to develop work habits – discipline, responsibility, being a self-starter, meeting deadlines, and working without grumbling – that you will need in the workplace for the rest of your life.
Never think that any job is beneath you. Remember that there is nobility and “profit” in “all hard work.” On my glide path to developing my career, I worked in a car wash (making $1.65 an hour), a slaughterhouse, a tomato packing shed, a vineyard picking grapes, a department store, a steel and wire factory, in more than one restaurant as a waiter, and for a company that turned grapes into raisins.
I also worked as a radio disc jockey, a sports broadcaster doing local high school football and basketball games, and for ABC television, working in the production truck for baseball broadcasts from the old Astrodome in Houston and football broadcasts from Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. I learned something valuable in every job.
As you get older, people will start dangling get-rich-quick schemes in front of you that promise instant wealth with little to no work. Make up your mind you will avoid all such quick-strike schemes, for the simple reason that they don’t work and you may lose every dime you’ve invested. “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies (i.e., shortcuts to making big money) will have his fill of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19, NIV).
I remember a prominent Christian businessman in my hometown who promised his fellow Christians that if they invested their money with him, they would receive an interest rate of two percentage points above prime, that is, two percentage points above the best return they could get anywhere else. Because of his prominence in the Christian community, dozens if not hundreds of churchgoers took the plunge.
It sounded too good to be true, because it was. What he was doing was illegal. He wound up in a federal penitentiary and all his investors lost everything. They had all chased a fantasy and wound up with their fill of poverty.
Solomon has much to say about what he calls a “sluggard,” someone who is simply too lazy to work hard. A sluggards always has an excuse as to why he can’t get to work or apply for a job. “There is a lion outside!” he says, “I will be killed in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:13).
Solomon pictures a sluggard as a man who has a bowl of M&Ms in his lap and falls asleep with his hand still buried in the candy. “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 26:15, NIV). Quite an image, isn’t it?
At another point, Solomon pictures him as a guy just too lazy to get out of bed to go to work. Instead, he simply rolls over when the alarm goes off. “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed” (Proverbs 26:14). That’s another vivid word picture. Instead of getting up, he just turns over on his side, like a door opening and then closing, back and forth, while the day marches on.
The lesson? “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come on you like a bandit” (Proverbs 24:33-34). Solomon’s point? Don’t be that guy.
Father, I pray that you will grow my son into a man who works hard to supply his own needs and the needs of his family. Please direct him to a career and a line of work that will make full use of all the abilities and talents you have given to him. And bless the labor of his hands that his needs may be abundantly satisfied. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The Blind Are Leading the Blind
June 11, 2017 by DAVE DAUBENMIRE
I don’t know what you think but I continue to be amazed at the people who make it into leadership roles in America. Is it any wonder that we are in such a mess?
All you have to do is turn on your TV and you will see what I mean. The tempo of our nation is no longer being set by leaders, but rather by entertainers. Our children are taught to seek out celebrity. A recognizable face carries more influence than unknown person of character.
Let’s face it. We have become a nation of followers and as Jesus warned us…that will not end well.
“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Jesus declared.
We are in a ditch alright, and we have gone off-road because of who we have chosen to follow. “Blind guides,” Jesus called them, in another description of leadership
It is not that we want to end up shipwrecked, but that is the result of following “leaders” who can’t see beyond the bow of the boat.
Sight and vision are not the same thing and neither are knowledge and wisdom.
Sight is the outworking of the functioning of the eye. It is what happens when the eye perceives light and processes it into an image.
Vision is more important than sight. Vision is the process by which the brain is able to assimilate what they natural eye sees and convert it into an anticipation or prediction of what might occur as a result of what one sees.
Knowledge and wisdom are the twin sisters of sight and vision.
Knowledge is nothing more than accumulation of information gathered through one’s senses or through independent study. Wisdom is the application of the knowledge resulting from that study.
Even the most unlearned of men can look at a thing and know if it is functioning properly. Fixing a machine that is not working properly requires the APPLICATION of knowledge. Vision is figuring out how to prevent the instrument from malfunctioning again, rather than just fixing until it breaks again.
Because the teachings of our public schools and our mainstream churches have become so shallow the average American has the ability to see…but possesses very little ability to process the information with even a hint of wisdom.
The “ME” generation wants results and they want them NOW. Because they have no long-term vision, they are unaware that temporary comfort is the enemy of long-term success. Our “leadership” has played upon this national weakness and we suddenly find ourselves careening into a ditch.
Look, I love watching LeBron James play basketball, but I have no desire to find out who he is supporting in the presidential race. If he has some advice on how to shoot foul shots, then I am all ears. But his basketball talent does not transfer into wisdom in other areas. Why would anyone be influenced by his political views?
Can anyone tell me what makes Anderson Cooper or Rachel Maddow an expert on the news? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how they even got to occupy those seats inside your TV screen? As an example, why would you take advice from anyone who doesn’t understand that the purpose of sex is procreation? If they can’t figure out basic science, why would you care what they say about the more complicated issues of life?
The political world is no different. How in the world did we ever end up with the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Al Franken, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham passing as our “national leaders?” Other than knowledge of how politics work, what wisdom is it that they bring to the American people?
We have a leadership crisis in America. Most of us cannot distinguish between leadership and celebrity. Celebrity alone does not qualify one for leadership. Whoopie Goldberg is famous, but would any sane person want her offering advice to his/her child?
Have you noticed recently what is passing as education in America? Rather than teaching our children how to apply the knowledge that they have gained, we have programmed them how to “emote”…act only upon how they feel. You see the results of that nightly on your TV screen.
We live in a crazy would…and it is getting crazier by the moment. Our challenge is to restore wisdom to the educational process. We must teach our children the difference between celebrity and wisdom.
Tonight, when you sit down for dinner, if you even do, ask your children whom they admire. Then ask them why they admire that person.
Their answer will demonstrate how we ended up in the ditch.
It is time for parents to re-engage with your children. It is imperative that we teach them WHAT to, rather than WHO to, admire.
“A wise man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” We have done it to ourselves. It is time to stop teaching our children to follow the spiritually blind.