When a man works hard he honors God in what he is doing. But there is also another way to honor God in your work. The man who becomes very skilled in what he does and does it to the glor of God truly honors the Lord. According to today's proverb the Lord will not be the only one honoring him either.
A question is asked as we begin this proverb. The question is this, "Do you see a man skilled in his work?" Skilled is the word "mahiyr" which means to be well-versed, to show extraordinary expertise in some area. One who has a skill of this level is said to be one who is referred toglowingly by anyone blessed by it. Ezra was such an expert in the Word of God as referred to in Ezra 7:6 - and the Messiah is spoken of glowingly as one who is skilled or an expert in righteousness in Isaiah 16:5. These two cases have to do with the things of God - but there are also experts in a field of endeavor that are a blessing as well. Such was the case with two wonderfully blessed men who helped in building the tabernacle of Moses. Bezalel and Oholiab were the two men God had gifted in all kinds of metal and embroidery work. They were skilled with jewels and with building the glorious things that God required for the Tabernacle. Their skills, which were relatively unknown, were brought to the forefront by God Himself for use in constructing the Tabernacle in Exodus 31 and 36. Their skill, developed over years of hard work and a drive for excellence landed them a job working for God Almighty, building the very tent of worship in which God would be properly sought.
Being skilled at something requires work and focus. These are things that are valued in the kingdom of God. God desires for us to work hard - and here we see also to work with skill and excellence. God mentions the excellence of those who worshipped Him specifically mentioning men like Chenniniah and Asaph. There were even men who served God with excellence doing things we might never notice - such as Obed Edom who was known for his care for the Ark of the Covenant and later an excellence as a door keeper in the house of the Lord. Finally, there were the mighty men of David listed in 2 Samuel 23 who were known for their leadership and bravery in fighting the battles of the Lord.
When a man has developed skill and excellence above all others we are told that he will serve before kings and important officials. Such a skilled man will not serve or stand before ordinary men. His skills will make a way for him - and he will be known widely. In a day where too many look to knowing the right people to get ahead - or a big break to suddenly be noticed, this is a welcome call to hard work and excellence. It is a reminder that time and time again men and women have distinguished themselves by being the very best at what they do. That is the way to true success in business or in some skilled profession. Any other way to make it to the top will leave the one gaining the position very vulnerable. His vulnerablility will be to those who actually have the skill to be where he is. When that is the case - the one who is there will resort to intrigue, betrayal, and many other kinds of wickedness to stay at the top. Better to let your skill talk for you - than to trust in your ability to be one step ahead of your competition. Because at the end of the day - or better said at the end of life - we will not get ahead that way. We will be known for our willingness to serve - and to serve with skill and excellence for the glory of God. That is the way to get ahead now - and even if you are unnoticed in this world - you'll be rewarded in the next.