From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
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.
1 Kings 4
4 So King Solomon ruled over all Israel. 2 And these were his chief officials:
Azariah son of Zadok – the priest;
3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha – secretaries;
Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud – recorder;
4 Benaiah son of Jehoiada – commander-in-chief;
Zadok and Abiathar – priests;
5 Azariah son of Nathan – in charge of the district governors;
Zabud son of Nathan – a priest and advisor to the king;
6 Ahishar – palace administrator;
Adoniram son of Abda – in charge of forced labour.
7 Solomon had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year. 8 These are their names:
Ben-Hur – in the hill country of Ephraim;
9 Ben-Deker – in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh and Elon Bethhanan;
10 Ben-Hesed – in Arubboth (Sokoh and all the land of Hepher were his);
11 Ben-Abinadab – in Naphoth Dor (he was married to Taphath daughter of Solomon);
12 Baana son of Ahilud – in Taanach and Megiddo, and in all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah across to Jokmeam;
13 Ben-Geber – in Ramoth Gilead (the settlements of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead were his, as well as the region of Argob in Bashan and its sixty large walled cities with bronze gate bars);
14 Ahinadab son of Iddo – in Mahanaim;
15 Ahimaaz – in Naphtali (he had married Basemath daughter of Solomon);
16 Baana son of Hushai – in Asher and in Aloth;
17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah – in Issachar;
18 Shimei son of Ela – in Benjamin;
19 Geber son of Uri – in Gilead (the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and the country of Og king of Bashan). He was the only governor over the district.
Solomon’s daily provisions
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy. 21 And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River Euphrates to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.
22 Solomon’s daily provisions were thirty cors[a] of the finest flour and sixty cors[b] of meal, 23 ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl. 24 For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the River Euphrates, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides. 25 During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig-tree.
27 The district governors, each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king’s table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking. 28 They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.
29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite – wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.[e]