Proverbs 12:14

From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.

When a person learns the truth of both statements, he will find so much of the contentment and success he finds missing. “From the fruit of his mouth” – from speaking words that are wise, words that are loving, words that are wholesome – from such speech a person will reap great reward. The reason is that he will have blessed others. And when others are blessed, they will return the blessing. They will respond with praise and with kindness.
They will overlook mistakes. A man may be a hard worker, but if he speaks harshly he will be criticized for his work; he will not be given a break for his mistakes. A person who knows how to speak can change people’s views, enable them to admit their faults, and to be motivated to work harder. A person who speaks foolishly and harshly only reinforces stubbornness and incites resentment, making goals harder to attain. The reason that many projects are not successful have nothing to do with the inability of a team to know what to do, but everything to do with jealousy, hurt feelings, egos bruised, competition, and so on.

Others fail because they have not connected their success with their work ethic. As a high school principal, I observed the simple rule that conscientious students far excelled lazy students. I noticed that the valedictorian often was not the smartest student, but invariably proved to be hard working. Lazy students, meanwhile, attributed their failures to bad luck, teachers picking on them, and not being as smart as the successful students. They could not, or would not, attribute the problem being their own attitude.

Make the connections! If there is a pattern of offending people, examine the fruit of your mouth. If you remain stuck in your career, examine your work ethic. There are other circumstances that you may not be able to control, but you have more influence than you think. Your words are powerful if they conform to love and righteousness. Your labor is effective, if you work honestly, seeking reward from your Master, Jesus Christ. If your focus in word and work is to glorify God, to serve Christ’s kingdom, you will find good fruit and reward.

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