Productive Work

For Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Proverbs 31:13-19

13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself´╗┐ with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.

What is the excellent wife like? She is industrious. She works with willing hands, making good use of her time to provide food and be productive. How different she is from the sloth who declares, "There is a lion in the street!" and so does not get out of bed.

And so she is a model for us. How do you use your time? Are you productive? Are you able at the end of the day to look back with satisfaction at the work you have done. For work - productive work - is good. The work will be based on your circumstances. You may be delivering products or making products. You may be teaching or writing. You may be raising children or training to perform. Whatever the case, you are using your time wisely so as to be productive.

Again, your circumstances affect what productivity may mean. If your health is poor, if you are limited with a disability, if restrictions have been placed around you, you may not be able to accomplish what you could otherwise. But still, you cannot avoid the question of whether you have used what you have to be productive, even if that "productivity" is doing what you can do heal or maintain your strength.

What about rest? There is a place for rest and for recreation. However, unlike the pop philosophy of today which says that we work in order to rest and "have fun," the wisdom of the proverbs teaches that rest and recreation are meant to restore us to work productively. Productive work itself is pleasurable. Productive work is what gives a person a true sense of being valuable, of having a purpose. And it is feeling that what one does has a purpose which gives the person a joy in living even through the most difficult circumstances.