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Counsel One: Be Convinced of the Excellence of the Heavenly Trade

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Earthly Traders

Counsel One: Be Convinced of the Excellence of the Heavenly Trade}


First, by your disappointments and losses in your earthly employments, be convinced of the transcendent excellence of this heavenly trade; it may be that you have slighted it in pursuit of your earthly trade.1190 There are no such bad outcomes from wisdom’s merchandise if [God’s wisdom is] duly heeded. Christianity breeds no worms to devour its treasures. “Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver” (Proverbs 8:18–19 ESV). There are no hazards in the ways of God such as I am exposed to in my earthly business: I labor hard and can hardly live on it. I sow much and bring in little. I eat but do not have enough. I drink but am not filled. I put on clothes but am not warm. I earn wages but put them into a bag with holes. I look for much, but it comes to little. And when I have brought it home, the Lord blows it away (Haggai 1:6–9).1191 But the heavenly trade is not like this, which trade I have neglected. The heavenly trade has no such disappointments. Those who sow to the Spirit do surely reap in due time. Those who labor for heavenly bread will have it given to them. Oh, how do wisdom’s merchants prosper while I suffer losses! Their faces shine, their basket is blessed, and whatever they have in the world is enough for them. They eat their bread with gladness and honest hearts. They are free from those anxious cares and fears that almost consume me. The heavenly trade is the best trade; I now see it; when all else fails, the heavenly trade is solid. When others famish, the heavenly trade feeds and when other trades undo people, the heavenly trade enriches them. Oh, blessed calling, you exceed them all. This is one good use of your earthly disruptions: to see the excellence of heavenly trades.


1190This does not imply that losses in earthly matters directly prove the excellence of heavenly things; rather, the realization of the fragility of earthly things should cause us to desire the permanence of heavenly things.

1191“‘You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,’ says the Lord. ‘You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house’” (Haggai 1:6–9 NKJV).

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