Chapter 19 in Proverbs briefly sums up 8 basic business behaviours that will put you on track for success. If you can discipline yourself to learn and apply these on a consistent basis, you should do well throughout your life, and your business ventures will do well.
Allow me to present these 8 business behaviours, what they mean, and to offer some helpful thoughts about how to implement them. Mostly they are about how to think, and that wisely.
vs.2 - It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,
nor to be hasty and miss the way.
- Not only be enthusiastic - take time to learn the right way.
vs. 8. He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
he who cherishes understanding prospers.
- Love being wise and understanding; you're doing yourself a favour that leads to prosperity.
In the long run you are doing yourself a great favour if you value and seek out understanding of the issues in your life. In the end that understanding will help you prosper and do well in business and every area.
vs. 11. A man's wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
- The wiser you are the more patient you will be, and able to overlook wrongs.
Many people have trouble with a short temper, so when they see you able to be patient and self-controlled with others, they will respect you. Perhaps grudgingly, but it will help your reputation. On the other hand, it is the things you know - that wisdom - which helps you to be patient with others.
vs. 16. He who obeys instructions guard his soul,
but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.
- Obeying instructions protects your life. Contempt kills!
See how each verse reinforces this point? Becoming wiser and obeying the instructions given to you will guard your very soul or personality, and keep you out of trouble. By contrast, notice that those who have contempt for instruction and will not do as taught, end up in trouble and are more likely to lose their lives.
vs. 20. Listen to advice and accept instruction,
and in the end you will be wise.
- become wiser by listening to advice and accept instruction.
This calls for a humble spirit, willing to learn. Parents, or a trainer on a new job, always appreciate someone who pays attention to the instructions and does well at following them. They are soon on your side and begin to champion and promote you as the right opportunities come along.
vs. 21. Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
- You may make lots of plans and have ideas; ultimately, God's plan will happen.
This is a good thing! Although God allows us room to be creative and to come up with lots of plans and ideas, sooner or later we run into problems with our plans sometimes mess up our lives so badly that we want to bail out. It appears that we have ruined everything. But if we invite and allow God to step in, He will - and bring good out of even our bad decisions and choices. God is ultimately still in charge.
vs. 23. The fear of the LORD leads to life:
Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
- Reverencing God protects us and provides contentment.
Exactly! Once we learn to revere and trust God with the details of our lives, we can rest more contentedly, and we experience far less trouble. I speak from experience! Trusting God's guidance and strength eases away so much of the pressure and strain of thinking we are in charge and must pull off our success.
vs. 25 Flog a mocker and the simple will learn prudence;
rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.
- Punish a trouble-maker and the ignorant learn to avoid bad behaviour, while a mere rebuke makes a discerning person more knowledgeble - he gains from it.
The interesting point here is that we can learn from the discipline we see a mocker get for his/her foolish actions. We don't have to learn everything the hard way by making all the mistakes ourselves. If we are a discerning person we will gain knowledge and so become more prudent or careful ourselves so we don't get the same trouble.
It does mean being observant of others, and applying the lessons we observe from their flogging (discipline) to our own lives. We escape the pain, and gain!
Do you see how all these 8 Basic Business Behaviours (verses 2, 8, 11, 16, 20, 21. 23 and 25) point to a cohesive Life Lesson?
Be careful to learn and understand the right ways, work patiently, accepting instruction, and make plans, but respect and honour God, expecting God's best way to overrule if your plans are not so wise. Lastly, avoid trouble by learning from what happens to the foolish mockers in your life.
You may learn many more things that are specific to your own business and personal life, but these eight will make a great foundation. Study and deliberately work these eight business behaviours into your life.
Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One