December 1, Tuesday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on September 25, 2014.  He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.). 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Effectiveness, Not Efficiency”

Ecclesiastes 10:8-11 (ESV)

He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall. 9 He who quarries stones is hurt by them, and he who splits logs is endangered by them.  10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed. 11 If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer. 

Do you get the sense that Solomon was a glass-half-empty kind of a guy? Reading these verses in isolation, it might seem that way; however, the context of this passage is about how wisdom is better than folly.  So Solomon is not necessarily prophesying doom in our workplace, but rather pointing out examples of folly in our workplace. 

A foolish person does not account for risks and dangers; but a wise person, on the other hand, knows the right way to dig a pit, break through a wall, quarry stones, split wood, or even charm snakes.  A wise person works better; not necessarily harder, keeping his/her tools sharp along the way.  

Let me give one warning:  Sometimes we can confuse this wisdom with being efficient.  Our modern world craves efficiency – doing things faster and quicker.  Not only do we microwave our food with this mentality, but we practice this in our work habits and our relationships—including our relationship with God.  

Instead of efficiency, I suggest it would be wiser to pursue effectiveness.  While an efficient person asks, “How can I do this better and quicker?” an effective person asks, “What work should I be doing?”  A Christian who asks this question also prays: “Let your will be done on earth just as it is done in heaven!”  Today, let us invite God to reveal the work he desires for us to do!

Prayer: Father, I know that I can be seduced by the mantra of bigger, faster, and better.  Though I desire to be better at my work, I also want to do the right kind of work.  I ask for Your wisdom that comes from above so that I would be effective for the sake of your Kingdom.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 2


Lunch Break Study  

Read Matthew 25:24-30: He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Questions to Consider

  1. What was the third servant supposed to do with his talent?  What did he do instead? (cf. verse 18)
  2. Why was the master angry with the third servant?
  3. What happens to the third servant?

Notes

  1. Each servant was given a number of talents to do business with.  The first two servants ended up doubling the number of talents they had been given.  In contrast, the third servant simply buried the talent.
  2. Instead of doing the work that he had been assigned (i.e. invest the talent), the third servant did nothing.  In addition, he accused the master of profiting from other people’s work. 
  3. The third servant has his talent taken away, and he is thrown out from the master’s household. 

Evening Reflection

A wise person not only works harder and better, but also knows the right work to do.  Are you doing what God wants you to do (in all spheres of your life)?  As we journal, let us ask God if there are things we should cut out from our lives, even as we ask whether we have neglected His work.

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