Here is a parable to help understand what it means to rely on Hashem to take care of my needs yet my having an obligation to work. Imagine that I get a job working for my uncle. I have an uncle, a very wealthy fellow. His name is Bill. And Bill happens to be the chairman of the board of a large corporation. The name of the corporation is Microsoft. And Uncle Bill Gates says to me, listen bubbeleh, I want you to come work for me. What you do doesn’t matter. I want you to get experience. Whatever job you want is fine with me. You work here, you work there; it doesn’t matter. And I’ll take care of you. I’ll give you a salary, you choose whatever department, whatever job you want, and I’ll take care of the rest.
And I go to work for Uncle Bill. Now, obviously it doesn’t matter if I’m in marketing, if I’m in sales, if I’m in research, if I’m in development, because Uncle Bill told me I’ll make the same amount of money. He’ll take care of me. All I have to do is ask myself what will I enjoy? What will be most suited to me? What is it that suits my nature best?
Explains the Chovos Halevavos, that’s how we’re supposed to enter the marketplace. Hashem is the One Who takes care of the bills. Hashem is the One Who guarantees how much I will earn, not a penny more and not a penny less. My job is to go into the marketplace, find what suits me, what is my nature. I’m supposed to use my wisdom and then ask myself in what area, in what venue can I use my skills. I have to apply it very vigorously, and then I have to understand that exactly the amount of money I am to make has been set by Hashem, not a penny more, not a penny less.