“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.”
I was a young preacher with a ton of zeal who wanted God to do something great through my ministry. I had set an appointment with my pastor to talk about the great desire I had in my heart. When my pastor asked me what I wanted, I proceeded to tell him how I wanted God to do something greater through my ministry. I told him that I didn’t want a bigger ministry for my name’s sake, but I wanted a bigger ministry so I could reach more people for Christ and do more to preserve the old paths. He wisely replied to me that I just need to keep doing what I was already doing and let the LORD decide how big I get. He told me that if my focus was on getting big that I would do anything to get big and change from the person who was sitting before him.
Were my desires wrong in wanting to get bigger so that I could reach more people for Christ? No! Was my desire wrong in desiring to have a greater influence so I could pass down to the next generation the old paths that had been passed down to me? Absolutely not! What was wrong with my desire was my focus. My focus should have been on continuing to do right and let God worry about the rest.
The verse above is teaching the importance of keeping a right focus. God says, “Labour not to be rich…” God is saying don’t focus on getting rich, but focus on working hard. He is saying, don’t focus on having riches, but focus on handling your money properly. God is saying that if you keep your focus right, the results will take care of themselves. There are a couple of principles that God is teaching the believer about focus.
First, don’t focus on the result, but focus on right. Too many people want a happy marriage when they ought to focus on doing right concerning their spouse. When the results are your focus, you will do whatever it takes to get the results which results in you doing things you should not do. Focusing on the results is a selfish and prideful focus that will eventually lead to your demise. The student shouldn’t focus on getting a 100% on their test, but they should focus on studying hard. The employee shouldn’t focus on getting a position on the job, but they should focus on working hard and doing what they are told to do. The child shouldn’t focus on being the best child, but they should focus on obeying and honoring their parents. The spouse shouldn’t focus on being the best spouse, but the spouse should focus on being faithful to their vows of marriage and to meet the needs of their spouse. The church shouldn’t focus on getting big numerically, but they should focus on reaching the lost for Christ. We could take this principle and talk about any area of life by simply saying that you should focus on the labor side of doing right.
Second, don’t focus on the destination, but focus on the action of doing right. My friend, it is God’s area to take care of the results, and it is your area to do what is right. God knows your name and where you live, and in His timing He will take care of the results when He feels you are ready for them. You should focus on doing right even if doing right doesn’t give the results you desire. God is more interested in your actions of doing right to determine whether He should give you the results that you want. You will find out that when your focus of life is to do right no matter if the results are seen, you will find that God will bless your efforts of doing right in His timing. Let me encourage you to focus on the labor instead of on the result of riches.