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June 17, 1998

Don’t Cut Corners

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One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. PROVERBS 18:9
Are you a diligent worker, or do you tend to be a slacker? Do you complete every task to the best of your ability, or do you rush through your assignments, doing just enough to get by?
We might think that slacking off occasionally is perfectly harmless; after all, we all get a little lazy every now and then, don’t we? Maybe so, but that doesn’t make it right. According to this proverb, in fact, shoddy work is actually destructive. Here’s how one Bible scholar describes it: “Lazy people look for short cuts; they don’t use the level and square as often as they should and don’t tighten bolts as much as they should. The end product is not only inferior but potentially dangerous; think of a car with faulty brakes or a house with inferior wiring.”12
That puts it in a whole different light, doesn’t it? We could easily expand the list: Think of a badly designed bridge, a carelessly done surgical procedure, or a flaw in a pharmaceutical formula.
The shortcuts we take at work might not lead to an automobile accident, a raging house fire, or other kind of tragedy, but they can still have a negative effect. As far as the bottom line is concerned, cutting corners in a proposal might make our company miss out on a potential sale, and shoddy work on a project could lead an existing client to take his business elsewhere. From a relational standpoint, when we fail to carry our load, we’re usually creating more work for someone else, which usually doesn’t do much for our relationships at work.
How much time do you spend hanging around other people’s work areas, lingering by the snack machine, or doing nonwork-related things at your desk? Do your answers indicate that you might be a slacker? If so, make it a point to be more focused at work. Pay attention to the details. Measure twice; cut once. Reread the directions. Be conscientious.
In other words, make Ecclesiastes 9:10 your motto: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”

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