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Thomas Edison, Charles Spurgeon... and a Bunch of Ants

Thursday, March 21, 2024

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“Put as much force, energy, heartiness, and earnestness into faith as ever you do into business, for it deserves far more.” – C.H. Spurgeon

I know of many workaholics who put in 12, 14, and even 16-hour days at the office. They are so focused on their job and so pre-occupied with success that some other areas of their lives – such as their marriage, their family, and their relationship with God – suffer as a result. Sure, they may get promoted and/or become wealthy, but at what cost?

For instance, Thomas Edison’s workday usually began around 4:00 AM and continued until late at night with a few “power naps” and missed meals in between. He reportedly slept just 3-4 hours per night, “regarding sleep as a waste of time, ‘a heritage from our cave days,'” according to one of his biographers. That commitment to finding new and better ways to do things led to Edison inventing the light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture among his more than 1,000 different patents.

However, it is said that Edison preferred spending time in his lab to spending time with his family. And although he believed in a “Supreme Intelligence” that ruled what he called “Nature,” Edison denied the existence of the One True God as described in the Bible.

Someone who found a way to work extremely hard, but not at the neglect of his family or his faith was Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who pastored the largest Protestant church in the world – where he reportedly knew the names of all 6,000 members – during the mid to late 1800s. Here is a list of some of the things the “Prince of Preachers” accomplished during his 57 years on earth…

“Every week he preached four to ten times, read six meaty books, revised multiple sermons for publication, lectured, and edited a monthly magazine. In his ‘spare time’, he wrote about 150 books, directed a theological college, ran an orphanage, and oversaw sixty-six Christian charities.”

"I wish it could be said of us that we wasted neither an hour of our time, nor an hour of other people’s time," Spurgeon once said. When he was asked by the famous missionary doctor David Livingstone how he was able to accomplish so much in a single day, Spurgeon replied, “You forget, Mr. Livingstone, there are two of us working.”

Here is a summation of Spurgeon’s tireless work ethic…

“It is the general rule of the moral universe that the prosperous are those who do their work with all their hearts, while others are almost certain to fail when they go about their business halfheartedly. God does not give harvests to lazy men except harvests of thistles, nor is He pleased to send wealth to those who will not dig in the field to find its hidden treasure… The Holy Spirit helps our weaknesses, but He does not encourage our laziness.”
To me, it all comes down to living a balanced life in which you work at least as hard on developing your faith and your personal relationships as you do your vocation. Here are some Bible verses that support that view…

“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” Proverbs 6:6-8 (NLT)

“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” Psalm 127:2 (NLT)

“Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and will build bigger ones, and there I will store up all my grain and my goods. Then I will say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be required of you. Then who will own what you have accumulated?’ This is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:18-21 (BSB)

“If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.” Ephesians 4:28 (NLT)

“For even while we were with you, we gave you this command: ‘If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat.’” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (BSB)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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