Question: "How can we commit our work to the Lord and have our plans established (Proverbs 16:3)?"
Answer: Proverbs 16:3 states, “Commit your work to the LORD, / and your plans will be established” (ESV). This wonderful verse speaks of our responsibility to serve God and the result of discharging our duty faithfully.
The first verb, commit, is a word that, in Hebrew, literally means “to roll.” Other passages such as Genesis 29:3 and Psalm 22:8–9 likewise use the idea of “rolling” something to the Lord. The idea is that we completely give something over to God in dependence upon Him. When we “commit” our work to the Lord, we offer everything we do completely to Him.
The Hebrew syntax also reveals the idea that we commit our work to the Lord in order that our plans will be established. We must do the first part if we expect God to fulfill the second part.
If we completely depend upon God in our work, He will “establish” our plans. That is, He will “bring about” or “cause to happen” our plans. We can expect God to bring our work to fruition in God’s way and in God’s time when we depend on Him in our efforts. Part of committing our work to God, of course, is seeking and following God’s will; when our work aligns with God’s will, then success will follow.
Proverbs, as a literary form, communicate general life principles and not exact promises. In other words, we can generally expect God to bless our work when we operate according to His ways in dependence upon Him. However, this does not mean we will never lose a job or have trouble in our work. Instead, we can expect God to fulfill His promise of Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
This proverb is similar in context to Psalm 1:1–3:
“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.”
When we commit our ways and our work to the Lord, He will bless our efforts according to His perfect will in ways beyond our understanding. We should serve the Lord faithfully and then leave the results to Him. Though we will still face times of difficulty, we can trust that God is working for His ultimate good—and ours—through our efforts to please Him in our daily vocation.