As we begin this Wisdom Note, picture with me in your mind that we are on a hike on a beautiful sunny summer day. As we move slowly up the trail, we come to a clearing overlooking a valley. In the valley are acres of fields containing crops, and we notice the workers stooped over, busily harvesting the crops by hand.
Growing up on a small farm and apple orchard, I am reminded of how life is like working in the field harvesting the crops. We worked many hours harvesting both vegetable crops and picking apples by hand one at a time. Apple harvest was an intense season, requiring a lot of work climbing both the trees and ladders to reach all of the apples. In addition to the physical labor of climbing, we had a picking bag strapped to our front, which when full would hold between 40 and 50 pounds of apples.
As I remember the many years of growing up, I do reflect on how blessed I was to learn the value of hard work and many other lessons and wisdom that I can now apply to each day. This reminds me of a lesson taught by one of my virtual mentors Jim Rohn. His lesson was titled “Look Up, Look Around, and Then Get Back to Work.” Let’s look at each of these points.
1. Look Up
Whether we are working in a field, like we see the workers in the valley that we overlook on our trek today, working in an office, digging a ditch, or completing any other task during the day, let us take time to pause and look up. We are to look up to give thanks to God and ask Him to help us through each day.
As King David proclaimed in Psalm 121:1-3, “I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.”
In 1 Chronicles 16:8 David also said, “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.”
2. Look Around
Once we look up, next we should look around. The reason to look around is to assess our progress and to see if any other workers in your field need your help. We are all on this trek of life together. When others are in need of help, we should be ready and prepared to help them. We never know when we will also need help from someone.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
Also in order to get the crop harvested on time or any other work accomplished in a timely manner, we will need many to help as Jesus describes the spiritual harvest to his disciples in John 4:35-36, “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!”
3. Then Get Back to Work
Whatever our job, occupation, and calling is in life, we should work hard, work with excellence, and be consistent and persistent in all that we do. We never know when our work on this trek of life will be complete.
John 9:4 admonishes, “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.”
Hard work brings success and will benefit us tremendously. There are numerous verses in Proverbs that give us the grounded principles for success.
Proverbs 10:4, “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.”
Proverbs 12:11, “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.”
Proverbs 21:5, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Today we are reminded that life is like working in a farm field. We should look up, look around, and then get back to work.