There’s generally a cause and effect relationship between hard work and success in any endeavor, whether it is in academics, athletics, business, etc. But we need to be careful not to allow pride to creep in.
To put things into perspective, consider this question: What do you have that you did not receive? Everything we have comes to us as a gift from God. Intellect, skills, talent, ability, health and opportunity all come from God. We should thank him for these gifts. He is the source of all of these things.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 warns that “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth …” Our ability to achieve and succeed comes from God.
Look what Paul wrote to the proud Corinthians: “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) Everything we have is a gift from God.
Some may say, “I am a self-made man or woman.” From a human point of view, maybe you have shown all kinds of initiative, you have taken ingenuity, demonstrated tenacity and put in lots of hard work. But where did those abilities come from? Where did the health and strength to succeed originate?
It all comes from God. Failure to acknowledge that success ultimately comes from God tends to promote the pride of achievement that does not honor God.
Pride may be subtle sin, but it is sin nonetheless. Sometimes, it is overt. One subtle aspect of pride is in the inordinate desire for recognition.
We’re all glad to be commended for a job well done, but what is our attitude when we do a job well and don’t receive recognition? Are you willing to labor in obscurity? Do you get disgruntled over lack of recognition?
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
Are we working for the approval of people or are we serving for the approval of God? Let’s be careful not to allow an entitlement attitude that can lead to sinful pride creep into our lives.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at [email protected].