I’m sure most of us have heard the old saying “work smart not hard.” Of course, as with most famous sayings, there is an intended truth and an unintended error. The error here is that, if we work smart, we can achieve our full potential without working hard. WRONG! Though there may be occasional exceptions to this, just as lightening does occasionally strike twice and a few have struck it rich through the lottery, the rule is that it takes working smart and hard.
For me, the saying would be far more valuable if it were cut in half. ”Work smart.” Now, we have solid and more complete counsel. “Work” suggests the need for some discipline…some sweat equity…giving our all. “Smart” suggests the need to invest your labor in a way, place, and area where it has a chance…a greater probability to succeed.
Here’s my point, (finally, 3 paragraphs in), if we’re going to experience genuine success in our spiritual lives, (the most important and valuable area of our lives), we have to “work smart.” As with all of us, I experience a lot of seasons where, though working really hard at it, I’m sliding backward spiritually. In my devotional time with God this morning, I found a passage that highlighted the problem for me.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…,” Psalm 92:12-14.
Think about it. No matter how hard I work to flourish spiritually, if I plant myself in a spiritual wasteland…a place where God, His truth, and His people are not being experienced or expressed, I will fail. Where as, if I plant myself in a spiritually fertile place…(represented by the “house of the Lord” in the passage above), I will flourish when I invest myself in knowing, loving, obeying, and serving God.
So, for me, working hard at my spiritual life isn’t the whole issue. I need to make sure that I’m “working smart.”
How about you?
PS If you want to take this idea further, contrast Abraham with Lot. Where they planted themselves made a huge difference.