Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Slack Hands and God's Sovereignty

In church we sometimes hear that wealth and riches are a result of God's sovereignty. Whether we are rich or poor, it is God's Will. I won't debate or elaborate on this point right now, but some of the implications of this statement are concerning.

When we place TOO MUCH emphasis on God's "sovereignty," we can disregard personal responsibility. There is automatically an excuse built into this line of reasoning. We are just WAITING on God's blessings and opportunities instead of helping bring them into fruition. After all, the reasoning goes, God is Sovereign and His Will will be done regardless. But, I believe this doctrine borders on a philosophy of Fatalism, which is not supported by the Bible.

The Bible is clear about the responsibility of righteous people as their lives intersect with God's sovereignty. Proverbs emphasises the importance of both hard work and the gaining of wisdom and knowledge to gain physical wealth, as well as spiritual, in this world. Action is required of people who want to excel.

Even Job declares that his great wealth and fortune were gained by his hands (Job 31:24-28), while also making the point that it would be sin to put his trust and base his security in this wealth.

Both diligence and understanding are emphasized in Proverbs. Verses 10:4-6 say "He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame. Blessings are on the head of the righteous..." The righteous are those with the diligent hands. They not only work hard, but intelligently. They understand how their business works, and harvest at the right time (after planning ahead and planting seed earlier).

Proverbs 3:13-18 also depicts the importance of education (finding wisdom and gaining understanding) as leading to monetary blessings, peace, long life, and the ability to bless others:

"Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed."

God praises hard work that is based on wisdom and understanding (which also require diligence). If we simply "wait on God" we may miss opportunities that we never knew existed because of our lack of understanding. Being proactive and possessing the discipline that God desires, will certainly up the chances of material blessings.

See next post on Sowing, Reaping, and God's Sovereignty.

Pics of Davinci's Creation, King Solomon the Wise, and cartoon from

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Anonymous said...

Nice post;
"(after planning ahead and planting seed earlier)"

Grow the goose, then after much humble and frugal and well thought out time, eat/share/give the delicious golden eggs!

SierraSojourner said...

Discipline is key. And one of the fruits of the spirit!

SierraSojourner said...

See the next post for a quick follow up on God's Sovereignty: