The word of the day is “commit.” It is natural to worry about the success or failure of our work, our family life, and our every endeavor. Yet, that anxiety is unnecessary. Today in our reading of Proverbs 15:20-16:9, the sage teaches that we can develop a calm confidence in everything we do. He writes, “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established” (OAB vs. 16:3). Today we consider the peace of heart and mind that comes from committing whatever we undertake to the Lord and His Glory.
The Lord Made All for Himself
The foundation for our comments today is found in the sage’s teaching: “The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom” (NKJV vs. 16:2). Here the sage affirms that the Lord has created and orders everything according to His purpose. All things come from Him and return to Him. Accordingly, in Romans, St. Paul lifts a song of praise to God, “For from Him, and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever” (OAB Romans 11:36). This hymn expresses the deep insight that God is the Giver of Life. He is the source of the life of the righteous and of the unrighteous. In this sense, as the sage suggests, even the wicked give Glory to God, their Creator.
If it is true that those who do evil give Glory to God, how much more is it true for those who set out to do good. If that insight holds for those who plan what is contrary to God’s will, how much does it hold for those who seek to do what is pleasing to Him? Therefore, ultimately everything and every event work to fulfill God’s glory.
Confidence in the Outcome of Our Work
Yet those who purposely dedicate whatever they do to the praise of God have a special sense of confidence in the outcome of their work. In Hebrews, the word “commit” is derived from the verb “to roll” and refers to entrusting something to someone (Strong’s Hebrew #1556, 56). When we “commit” our work to the Lord, we “roll it up” like a rug and deliver it the oversight of the Almighty. He is now in charge of it to do with it as He wills.
Once we have put our intentions in God’s hands, we need not concern ourselves with the result of our plans. There is neither success nor failure when it comes to those actions and activities that we devote to God. Whether we win or lose, whether we accomplish our aims or miss our target, whether we realize our hopes or fall short of reaching them, it is all the same in God’s eyes. God is glorified as much by our losses in this world as He is by our gains.
God Will Establish Our Plans
Moreover, the sage promises that God will “establish our plans” (OAB vs. 16:3) The word “establish” comes from the root of the verb “to set up” (Strong’s Hebrew #3559, 128). The term acquires the meaning of “to make firm.” We might say that the Lord favors the works that are devoted to him. He firmly establishes the endeavors that are given over to Him so that they endure. Accordingly, He sees to it that they accomplish His purposes. Therefore, we have a double assurance. God is sure to be glorified in what we offer to Him. Moreover, He will make sure that its fruit will endure.
In the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church, the litanies (petitions) end with “… let us commend ourselves, one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.” The word “commend” is sometimes translated “commit,” as we have defined it. But the word “commend” adds a deeper sense to the dedication of our work to God. To “commend” means to place in God’s hands.
When we put all that we in the Lord’s hands, then we no longer need to be anxious about how it will turn out. What a comfort and relief it is to know that the Lord will take care of what is dedicated to Him. He will direct it toward His purpose. And He will ensure that the offering of our work to Him will give Him glory.