The following is an extract from Forgotten Christian Secrets of Prosperity. Wherever it occurs in the following Scriptures, the emphasis is mine.

We’ll start with a Scripture that unveils what for some Christians has become a forgotten factor in Christian prosperity and financial provision. It seems mundane and yet the Bible emphasizes it because the all-knowing Lord sees it as significant:

    Psalm 128:2 For you will eat the labor of your hands. You will be happy, and it will be well with you.

Did you catch it or did it sneak past you? “You will eat the fruit of your labor . . .” Even with divine blessing, you still have to work. Sadly, many of us are so out of touch with biblical thinking that even the thought of having to physically work for God’s blessing seems unspiritual! To confirm that this verse is not some biblical aberration, examine the following:

    Proverbs 24:33-34 a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep; so your poverty will come as a robber, and your want as an armed man.

    Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard [the lazy person] desires, and has nothing, but the desire of the diligent [the person who works hard and consistently] shall be fully satisfied.

    Proverbs 12:24 The hands of the diligent ones shall rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.

    Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the winter; therefore he shall beg in harvest, and have nothing.

    Proverbs 23:21 for the drunkard and the glutton shall become poor; and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Consider this Scripture on divine provision:

    Psalm 104:25-28 There is the sea, great and wide, in which are innumerable living things, both small and large animals. There the ships go, and leviathan, whom you formed to play there. These all wait for you, that you may give them their food in due season. You give to them; they gather. You open your hand; they are satisfied with good.

God provides but it still takes effort. The principle applies even to the miraculous provision of manna:

    Exodus 16:14-18,22,26 When the dew that lay had gone, behold, on the surface of the wilderness was a small round thing, small as the frost on the ground. When the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they didn’t know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.” This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: “Gather of it everyone according to his eating; an omer a head, according to the number of your persons, you shall take it, every man for those who are in his tent.” The children of Israel did so, and gathered some more, some less. When they measured it with an omer, he who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack. They gathered every man according to his eating. . . . On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much bread . .  Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day is the Sabbath. In it there shall be none.

And don’t for a moment imagine that New Testament faith negates this spiritual principle of divine provision requiring work on behalf of the recipients. Read this carefully:

    2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion, and not after the tradition which they received from us. For you know how you ought to imitate us. For we didn’t behave ourselves rebelliously among you, neither did we eat bread from anyone’s hand without paying for it, but in labor and travail worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you; not because we don’t have the right, but to make ourselves an example to you, that you should imitate us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: “If anyone will not work, don’t let him eat.” For we hear of some who walk among you in rebellion, who don’t work at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are that way, we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

    1 Corinthians 3:8  . . . each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

    Colossians 3:22-23 Servants, obey in all things those who are your masters according to the flesh, not just when they are looking, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men

As we will soon see, these Scriptures are but a tiny fraction of the New Testament emphasis on physical work. Faith is not a way of avoiding hard work. What makes God’s blessing different is not how hard we must work but that without God’s blessing our hard work ultimately ends up wasted:

    Deuteronomy 28:15,38-40 But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the Lord your God’s voice, to observe to do all his commandments . . . all these curses will come on you, and overtake you. . . . You will carry much seed out into the field, and will gather little in; for the locust will consume it. You will plant vineyards and dress them, but you will neither drink of the wine, nor harvest, because worms will eat them. You will have olive trees throughout all your borders, but you won’t anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives will drop off.

    Psalm 109:2,11  . . . wicked and the mouth of deceit . . . Let strangers plunder the fruit of his labor.

    Jeremiah 3:24,25 But the shameful thing has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth . . . we have sinned against the Lord our God . . .

    Jeremiah 51:58 The Lord of Armies says: The wide walls of Babylon shall be utterly overthrown, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the peoples shall labor for vanity, and the nations for the fire; and they shall be weary.

    Habakkuk 2:13 Behold, isn’t it of the Lord of Armies that the peoples labor for the fire, and the nations weary themselves for vanity?

    Haggai 1:6-7,9,11 “ . . . he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes in it.” This is what the Lord of Armies says: “Consider your ways.  . . . when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of Armies, “Because of my house that lies waste, while each of you is busy with his own house. . . . I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains . . . and on all the labor of the hands.”

A soft, lazy life is associated not with God’s blessing but with his displeasure:

    Matthew 25:26 . . . You wicked and slothful servant. . . .

    Titus 1:12 . . . Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons.

Hard work is an important aspect of godliness:

    Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.

    Acts 20:34 You yourselves know that these hands served my necessities, and those who were with me.

    1 Corinthians 4:12 We toil, working with our own hands. . . .

    1 Thessalonians 2:9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail; for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached to you the Good News of God.

    1 Thessalonians 4:11 and that you make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, even as we instructed you

    Titus 3:14 Let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful.

The Bible’s ideal housewife works so hard that you might need to rest up after merely reading of all she crams into her long day:

    Proverbs 31:10-27 Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies. . . .
    She seeks wool and flax, and works eagerly with her hands.
    She is like the merchant ships. She brings her bread from afar.
    She rises also while it is yet night, gives food to her household . . .
    She considers a field, and buys it. With the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard.
    She arms her waist with strength, and makes her arms strong.
    She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp doesn’t go out by night.
    She lays her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
    She opens her arms to the poor; yes, she extends her hands to the needy. . . .
    She makes for herself carpets of tapestry. . . .
    She makes linen garments and sells them, and delivers sashes to the merchant.
    Strength and dignity are her clothing. . . .
    She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn’t eat the bread of idleness.

Here’s a Scripture addressed to people in houses that not only had no washing machines, but no piped water; an era in which families were large and there was not only no cheap ready-made clothing but not even access to sewing or weaving machines:

    1 Timothy 5:13-14 Besides, they also learn to be idle, going about from house to house. Not only idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for insulting.

In contrast to hardworking wives, Paul writes:

    1 Timothy 5:6 But she who gives herself to pleasure is dead while she lives.

Get rich quick dreams and schemes lead not to wealth but to poverty; not to contentment but to an endless craving. They are a curse that promises blessings but ends in regret:

    Proverbs 20:21 An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning, won’t be blessed in the end.

    Proverbs 28:8 He who increases his wealth by excessive interest gathers it for one who has pity on the poor.

    Proverbs 28:19-20,22 One who works his land will have an abundance of food; but one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. A faithful man is rich with blessings; but one who is eager to be rich will not go unpunished. A stingy man hurries after riches, and doesn’t know that poverty waits for him.

    Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained dishonestly dwindles away, but he who gathers by hand makes it grow.



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