I’ve never been a fan of those books that try to develop leadership lessons from the bible. A book that tells me that I can uncover the secret management strategies of Jesus is not going to be one that impresses me. God’s word is about far more serious things than all that.
At the same time, the book of Proverbs has for us some of those timeless life lessons that we need to know to survive. There are things in that book that people three thousand years later think they have come up with about living a meaningful and productive life.
In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk tends only to poverty.
Look at the antithetical, the opposite-looking, parallel lines of that verse for a major and simple life lesson. There is value in work. There is value that comes from taking action. Good leaders know this. Good leaders know that movement in a life or in an organization is often what is needed. Movement in any direction, even a failure or two, is far better than stagnation.
The second line contrasts to show us the point of the first. Toil is compared to mere talk. Just talking about a problem or a strategy does nothing. Eventually, talking without work leads to poverty. Multiple meetings, multiple strategy session, developing new plans, new mission statements, and new goals is useless if not accompanied by actual action.
Of course Solomon is not against planning. Other proverbs are clear about that. But Solomon is against talking yourself to death without doing something. Planning is good. But nothing happens if nothing happens. We do nothing unless we do something.
Think about your life and things that need to happen. Do you need to develop a plan for family worship and devotions? Do you need to reach out to neighbors with the gospel? Do you need to get physically healthier? Do you need to find a job. Plan a little. Think a little. Talk about it a little with someone. But the key in most of those kinds of things is doing something. Do something, even if it is the wrong thing. Risk failing. Just fail forward.
You know, of course, that you as an individual are not likely to be strong enough to move a thousand pound automobile. If you want a car’s direction to change, you do not turn it while it is sitting still. But when it is moving, you can steer. That is true in life too. Talking and talking with no action may change nothing. Sometimes the best thing to do is start rolling, see where your action is carrying you, and then steer.
Perhaps what would be good for you here is to stop and talk to God for a moment. Ask the Lord where you need to stop worrying, stop planning, stop talking, and start acting. Ask the Lord where in your life it is time to move instead of being paralyzed by indecision. Ask that about yourself, your family, and your church. Let’s be a people who think well, who plan well, and who discuss well. But let’s not be a people who only plan and never act.