When my son was a teenager, I used to tell him, “Do the right thing, and people will follow. It may be many, a few, or just one person, but there are people who really want to do the right thing but in the pressure of the moment lack the confidence or strength to do so. If you do the right thing, someone will take courage and follow.” This is as true for adults as for those in school; it is as true in the workplace as it is at leisure.
If there were one manual to guide the transition from campus to career, I think Proverbs 16 might be it, for it opens our eyes to the impact around us when we embrace the wisdom of God and apply it in our jobs. Whether we lead formally by position or informally through influence, this chapter provides indispensable insight for living faithfully and effectively at work.
How critical is it, for instance to eschew the paths to dishonest gain and set one’s career on a trajectory of honesty, justness, and right behavior?1 What boss wouldn’t favor and rely on the employee who “gives heed to instruction”?2 What advice could be sounder than to discreetly filter our thoughts and give voice only to those that build up our team and its members?3 How highly must leaders esteem those with the courage to speak truth and the tact to do so in respectful, constructive ways!4 How rare, how valued, and how powerful the one in whom the Spirit has produced self-control!5 Moreover, Proverbs 16 reminds us of God’s sovereignty over even our best thinking,6 even as it warns us against the dangers of pride, which sadly but predictably topples even the mightiest of organizations.7
Do you know a recent college grad who is wide-eyed at the thought of entering “the real world”? Do you know anyone who’s stumbled out of the gate and would really welcome a do-over? Do you know anyone for whom things appear to be going smoothly, but are struggling inwardly to live his or her faith outwardly? If any of these people are in your life, then you have a great book-tip for them! Proverbs 16. And chances are, they already have a copy.
[Click here to read “the handbook,” Proverbs 16.]
Father, send your Spirit to incline my heart toward your truth and to inspire me to apply the life lessons He whispers inside. Amen.
1 Proverbs 16:8, 11
2 Proverbs 16:20
3 Proverbs 16:23, 24
4 Proverbs 16:13, 14
5 Proverbs 16:32
6 Proverbs 16:1, 9
7 Proverbs 16:5, 18, 19