Others can help, but we must do the work

By Robert J. Tamasy

There is a universal truth about work that needs to be done: Someone needs to do the work. And if it is work that only you can do, either you determine to do the work – or it definitely will not be accomplished.


Tim Kight, a business consultant and trainer, offers this sage observation: “Doctors don’t make you healthy. Nutritionists don’t make you slim. Teachers don’t make you smart. Trainers don’t make you fit. They help, but you must take responsibility and do the work.”


Sounds like common sense, but too often we fail to “do the work,” as Kight puts it, and we wonder why expected success turns into failure. I’ve seen that in my own life, with a novel that I have yet to write and my desire to improve my skills at playing the drums as a hobby. I can read books, watch videos and listen to audio messages about how to do those things – but until I devote the time and actually do the work, those pursuits will always remain in the wishful thinking category.


Pick out the person you most admire, whether it be a business or professional leader, performer, speaker, athlete or even a spiritual role model. Whoever that individual may be, they have become noted for skills and accomplishments beyond the norm. They may have started off with some measurable, quantifiable goals and objectives, along with some lofty aspirations. But they did not get to where they are simply by wishing and hoping. They did the work necessary for what they intended to achieve.


In the Bible we discover that a true, eternal relationship with God is by His grace, through faith. But the Scriptures do not discount the importance of working. We do not earn God’s favor by our work, but our work serves as external evidence of what He has done in our lives internally by His Spirit. Here are some of the truths we find in the Word of God:


Faith and works necessarily are intertwined. Can you imagine someone who claimed to have an important job, yet never showed up for work or carried out any of their responsibilities? The proof that we actually have the job – any job – is that we actually perform the work required. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?… Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:14-18).


To produce desired results, plan your work and work your plan. Do you want to meet a “successful failure”? That is a person who is always telling people about what they want to do, but never get around to doing it. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5).


Advice is only as good as our willingness to implement it. As noted above, physicians, nutritionists, teachers and trainers can offer helpful guidance, but it will do little good if we are not willing to not only hear what they say but also to put into practice what they advise. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (Proverbs 19:20). “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).

© 2021. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart, coauthored with Ken Johnson; and The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

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