"Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say 'Our gods' to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion." Hosea 14:3
Imagine that you are on a train. Suddenly, you notice an immaculately dressed man acting strangely. This individual is leaning on the wall of the train and pushing with all his might. You ask the man if everything is ok and why he is pressing against the train wall. The man exclaims: "I'm late for an important meeting, one that can make or break a huge deal. Can't you see? I'm trying to make the train go faster!"
Of course, we all know that no amount of pushing against a train will get it to move faster. Moreover, no amount of effort on our part can help move the train at all. Rather, it's the engine that moves the train. It is completely foolish to attribute the movement of the train to our own abilities.
However, many of us take an approach to life that isn't all that much different from the futile efforts of the man in our example. We think that we are the ones running the show and creating outcomes in our lives. We think that we are the ones responsible for our successes, both personal and professional.
Yet, the truth is that all success is from God. While we must put in our own effort to demonstrate our willingness to do our part, ultimately it is God who is the real engine moving our lives. No amount of pushing on our end can change the direction or pace of our journey.
In the book of Hosea we read, "We will never again say 'Our gods' to what our own hands have made . . ." The prophet was speaking of a time when all people will recognize that God is the source of all blessings and success. Instead of attributing our achievements to ourselves and seeing our hands as "gods," determining our success or failure, we will recognize that we are merely along for the ride. We must pray to God and put in our effort, but He is the driving force behind it all.
In this era when work hours per week continue to increase while time spent with family and God goes down proportionately, we need to take a moment to remember that there is such a thing as "overworking." There is such a thing as relying too much on our efforts that we sacrifice our faith in God in the process.
When we recognize that God is the ultimate provider, decider, and mover of all things, there's no need to waste our time and energy pushing against walls that we alone cannot move. Rather, our time would be better spent in prayer and kindness so that God might answer our prayers and show us kindness through making us successful - as only He can do.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President