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. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
You’ll likely see the fruit of today’s work fairly quickly. You’ll sit down at your laptop, and an hour later you’ll have a finished PowerPoint and be ready for your meeting. Or you’ll scrub in for surgery, and a few hours later your patient will be sewn up as good as new. At a minimum, you’ll go to work today, and within a couple of weeks, money will appear in your bank account as a recognition of your hard work.
With such a seemingly direct connection between our work and the results of our work, it can be easy to believe that it is our intellect, skill, and “hustle,” that is producing these results. But as today’s passage reveals, ultimately it is God alone who produces fruit in our endeavors. David echoed this truth in 1 Chronicles 29:12 when he prayed, “Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.”
But it’s not just wealth that comes from the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 3:5, Paul says that even “our competence comes from God,” and in Romans 11:36 he asserts that “from [God] and through him…are all things.” Paul is saying that it’s not just what we see God creating in Genesis 1 that is from him. “All things,” including the results you and I produce at work today, are from the Lord.
Thus, we can join with the Psalmist in saying that “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7). Because all things are “from him and through him,” we don’t ultimately trust in chariots or horses, P&L statements or software, intellect or hustle. “We trust in the name of the Lord” because he alone is able to produce fruit through our work.
But this doesn’t negate the need for us to be faithful to work hard with the skills and opportunities God has given us to steward. As we’ll see next week, it is often our hustle that God uses as a primary means of producing fruitful results in our work.