A Wise Exchange

Jim Elliot Journal

On Fridays, I am posting quotes from some of my favorite authors as a way to review golden nuggets of truth and keep them in the forefront of my own heart and mind throughout the year.

I also hope it serves you, as a reader of RevivingTheSoul, in offering comfort, encouragement, and strength for your own journey in the ups and downs of life on this side of heaven.

This quote is from Jim Elliot, one of my heroes. He was one of five missionaries killed while attempting to preach the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956. This is something Jim had written in his journal:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Jim Elliot

One of the Most Encouraging Proverbs in All of Scripture

iStock_000014090970Hard Work

Another work week is inching toward its close, and I’m clinging to this truth from God’s Word:

“All hard work brings a profit” (Proverbs 14:23).

To me this is one of the most encouraging Proverbs in Scripture.

By the grace of God, I’ve worked hard this week. I’ve split my time at work between recruiting, business development, marketing, networking, and administration. At home, I’ve had the privilege of serving my family and serving our church bi-vocationally. In all of this, I know that I am completely dependent on God to bless my efforts. Unless the Lord builds the house, all my labor is in vain (Psalm 127:1). I’m trusting the LORD that He will cause the rain to fall on the fields I’ve plowed, the sun to shine on the seeds I’ve sown, and that he will bless my efforts to bring forth fruit from all my labors (1 Cor. 3:7 – God is the One who gives the growth).

That’s why Proverbs 14:23 encourages me so much. It’s a statement of truth, an acknowledgment of the way God designed things to work, and a promise.

In the business world, much of my compensation has always been tied to commissions. When I sold cell phones back in 2002-2003, I operated on straight commission. That basically meant that if I didn’t sell anything, my family wouldn’t eat. By God’s grace, the Lord helped me to serve others (and my family) by selling a lot of cell phones. When I first moved in to the world of recruiting, I operated on a draw. That basically meant that the company would give me a base pay, but I would owe the company if I didn’t end up making placements. Whenever I owe something, I want to pay it back as quickly as I can (Romans 13:8 – “let no debt remain outstanding but the continual debt to love one another). By God’s grace, again, the Lord helped me to serve others (and my family) by making a lot of placements.

These days, I have a family of 6 to feed and provide for and much of my compensation is still tied to commissions. I pray for grace daily to be able to serve my company, our clients, the candidates I speak with, and my family by making placements in the ever-evolving world of Healthcare IT. Whenever I make a placement, everyone wins. The company gets a skilled individual they need to help their business succeed, the candidate is provided with an exciting opportunity in his or her new position, my company grows, and it’s a blessing to my family, as well. I love the name of our company, Provisions Group. It speaks to all of these things. Most importantly, it whispers the glory of the Ultimate Provider.

Is My Work Making Any Difference?

Some weeks, you see a lot of fruit from your labors. Other weeks, you don’t. I suppose it’s like that with any job or any profession. I’m certain it’s like that with moms. I don’t know anyone who works harder than my wife. She is a stay-at-home mom, which basically means she is continually exhausted from hard labor. She a school teacher, a nurse, a professional cook, an interior designer, a nanny, a homemaker, a chauffeur, an entertainer, and a professional cleaner to name a few of the multiple hats she wears each day. She doesn’t get paid a penny and the work never ceases. Sometimes she doesn’t feel like she is doing a good job. I think she’s doing an incredible job! But, I can imagine many moms wonder at times if all the work they do is making a difference.

That’s where we all need to cling to God’s Word and not our feelings. Here’s the truth. Here’s the reality. Here’s the certainty. Here’s the promise from on high:

“All hard work brings a profit” (Proverbs 14:23).

Your labor will be rewarded. You may not see it all today, but it will come. Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Don’t believe the lie that it’s all for naught. God sees. God knows. God rewards.

“Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good. (Ecclesiastes 11:1;6).

As you enter into this weekend, you can rest with this assurance:

Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!

He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)

You may have worked with a broken-heart this week, but the seeds you have sown will take root. The harvest will come. God has said it, and it will prove true:

ALL HARD WORK BRINGS A PROFIT.

Let’s go in to the weekend resting in the promises of our Great Provider, and may He bless all of our efforts from this week for His glory.

EnCouragement: Something We All Need and Something We All Can Give

Supporting a friend

Our words have power. Our words have purpose.

And our words have great potential to encourage those we interact with.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says,

“Encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Everyone needs hope. Everyone needs strength. Everyone needs more grace. I’ve never met anyone who says, “I don’t need any more grace; I don’t need any more encouragement.”

Most of the people who share with me how they are really doing communicate that they battle discouragement from time to time, struggle with various forms of doubt, and have difficulties managing everything life is throwing at them daily. The circumstances of life have a way of knocking us back.

How many times have you looked forward to the end of the day when you can just crawl in bed utterly exhausted, hoping that you’ll get some rest so you can make a little more traction on everything that needs to be done when a new day dawns? The tasks that were left un-checked from our to-do list, the phone calls that didn’t get made today, the inbox that is full of unanswered mail, the weight that we still haven’t lost, the relationship that has grown cold, the hopes deferred — all these things can dishearten a soul and rob us of courage.

It’s so easy to be more aware of what we have and haven’t done than we are aware of what God has done for us.

The Potential In Our Words

That’s why encouragement is so huge. We have the opportunity to help someone get his or her eyes off themselves and back to God.

Our God is the God of all encouragement.

God is at work everywhere around us. We can see His work in others, but it’s more difficult to perceive His work in ourselves. That’s why we need encouragement, and that’s why encouragement takes place best in the context of community.

In community, we have the privilege of pointing out grace to those who are more aware of their failures, faults, and frailties. They, also, can share with us how they see God at work in our lives.

When we encourage one another in Christ, we build a culture of grace.

Every believer in Christ is amazing because he or she is in-dwelt by the Spirit of God and God is at work in them to will and to do according to His great pleasure.

Psalm 10:17 says,

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”

When we listen to a friend, when we hear them in the midst of their affliction, and when we encourage them, we honor The Lord and reflect His character and goodness.

Encouragement imparts grace, and together we build up the body of Christ.

Encourage the fainthearted (1 Thess. 5:14)

Encourage one another daily (Hebrews 3:13)

It’s something we all need and something we can all give.