Contentment: Vines and Olive Shoots
Are you content in the workplace and at home? If not, would you like to know how you can be? According to a recent Gallup study, more than 50% of Americans are not engaged at work --meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs. And as we all know, many marriages are on the rocks and continue to hold a 50% success rate. That is not how we are supposed to live though! If you find yourself in that situation, I want to encourage you to make an effective kind of change. When people are unhappy they immediately want to make a change but often resort to the wrong kind. Most people simply leave their current situation in search of something else...something they think would be better and make them happy. But they end up being discontent with the next job or relationship because sometimes the change that needs to take place is actually internal rather than external. I’ve recently come across a few scripture verses that offer hope and help shed some light on God’s intent for your life in these two areas. Psalm 128:1-4 says, "Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. 2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours." 3. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. 4 Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord."
The word blessed in these verses is from the Greek word makarios, which means to be happy. The “fruit of your labor" refers to the work of your hands, which means they (your hands) will produce what is good so that you actually enjoy doing the work! Isn’t it nice to know that the work you put into something doesn’t have to be in vain? And that God wants you to reap what you sow in abundance?? When you honor God by revering His ways, He will bless the fruit of your labor; happiness and prosperity will be yours!
The second two verses extend this promise into your family relationships. They're stating that when you walk in God's ways, your spouse will be fruitful. Rather than being idle in the home or wayward in their commitment to you, your spouse will be productive, pleasing, and faithful towards you! Your children, described as olive shoots, will also make you proud. Olive shoots, along with vines, are frequently paired in the Old Testament and symbolize long life and productivity. The wine and oil they produce played a central role in the lives of the people at that time. God is basically saying that your family members are important and He will use them mightily! Starting from the head of the household, God wants to extend His blessings into the family that fears Him and make it a source of happiness for everyone in it.
If you’re currently single or divorced, these scriptures are still applicable to you either as a single parent and/or a future spouse. Your situation is actually advantageous because you have an opportunity to start sowing the right seeds by improving your relationship with God now in order to prevent complicated issues and reap the benefits later. If, on the other hand, you feel that you are doing your part, but just aren’t seeing the fruits of your labor at this point, I want to encourage you to hold on to these promises and keep doing what you’re doing. Soon enough, your vines and olive shoots will produce a harvest!
MOVE. MEASURE. MARCH.