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day 717: Instructions

“Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.”

If we could stop and count the hours in a day, a week, a month, or a year that we spend giving and then repeating instructions, it would be an enormous number of time. It doesn’t feel like that much daily because we break it down into little segments, like, “We need to finish this report by Tuesday and after we review it , it needs to be sent out to Jim, Mary and Larry by Wednesday morning.”, and then we move on to the next task. When the report gets done, gets reviewed and then only gets sent to Jim and Mary, but not Larry, we have to go back and review why not, and then repeat the instructions again to get it sent to Larry ASAP, with an explanation (and apology) why he was not included the first time. What happened that Larry got missed? Who knows. Maybe it wasn’t said clearly enough, maybe someone didn’t write down the instructions when receiving them, maybe someone just forgot, or maybe someone didn’t want to follow the instructions and ignored the request. We usually never know, but what we do know is that time, energy, emotions and social capital gets burned up in trying to redo what should have been done the first time. What we can learn in business is that taking the extra time to ensure that the instructions are heard and understood, even if that means writing them down for someone else, is time well spent. A missed instruction can create a bonfire that can burn out of control for a long time.

In Proverbs, when Solomon tells us that we can prosper by following instructions, he is assuredly telling us that about God’s instructions, but he is also giving us a good life lesson on attitude and approach. If we become one who follows instructions then we will also become one who others can count on and feel comfortable that when given a task, the task will be done to the specificity of the instructions given. Think about someone who you work with who you wish was more that way. Then, imagine that someone else, your boss or a co-worker, might be thinking that way about you. We live and work in a world where we all want the greatest freedom to create, innovate, and experiment, but regardless of that, we still have to learn to follow our instructions. Today, God may have instructions for us that we need to follow. He may also be saying to us that we need to swallow our egos and get rid of our pride and be willing to graciously follow the instructions which we are given.

Reference: Proverbs 16:20 (New Living Testament)