The Stunting Illusion of Control

Lazy hands make a man poor but diligent hands bring wealth.

Proverbs 9:4

Lord, how much control do I have over the outcome of my effort?  Do I succeed because I work hard or does hard work uncover inheritance and blessing?  What if my portion is already determined and diligence uncovers it in pieces?  If your plan for me is sure, why do I convince myself that I have to control outcomes to achieve any success?  Why am I seduced by the idea that it is my hard work that produces something out of nothing?  I cannot produce ex nihilo (from nothing).  I produce something from what I have already been given.  My portion is determined by your sovereignty.  My diligence uncovers the extent.  Humility allows me to be thankful because I know that I did not create my blessing. 

The illusion of control seductively stunts me and says that I am the sum of all I produce…but I am not.  In totality,  I am all that you have given to me.  I pray that your development of my diligence will result in the full discovery of all that you have given to me.  The opportunity with which I am presented is not the result of everything I have done to this point.  It is already planned irrespective of my actions.  It is part of the plan that you have gifted me so that I can develop into being more like my brother, Jesus.  You develop diligence in me so that I uncover your step-by-step plan and so that I develop the character that you desire.  If your plan has already been determined, why work diligently? Why not just sit back?  “Lazy hands make a man poor…”  My interpretation is that if I sit back, then I do not uncover the plan, gifts, blessings, development of character, growth, and the maturity that all result in an eternal reward (1 Peter 1:7). 

Laziness is not bad because it implies disinterest in ambition and control.  It is bad because it refuses your plan of sanctification – spiritual character development through an encounter with challenging situations.  The challenging situations present themselves as “work”.  I work not for the reward (which is already mine).  I work for maturity.

Control says, “only I can assure my future.”  Humility says “my future is already assured.  I work for growth.”

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