Most of us make much effort and planning in mapping out our material success, taking the right courses at the right school, going to counseling etc. or if starting a business, doing a lot of planning and preparation. Whereas in our spiritual endeavors, we don’t plan ahead. Most people don’t have a spiritual plan. We depend on God to guide us and we trust in Him that the outcome should be good.
One of the most amazing sections of Bachya Ibn Paquda’s Gate of Trust in God is when he talks about the difference between trusting in God in material matters and spiritual matters, and he throws us for a loop. Bachya states
Concerning material things you never know whether the profession or business you choose is good and helpful for you or whether it is detrimental and harmful. You don’t know which vocation is most suitable for earning your livelihood and for maintaining your health and general well-being. You are in the dark as to what merchandise to carry, what sales technique to use, and what steps to take to be successful.
Therefore, when making decisions on which path to take in attaining a livelihood and how to carry it out, trust God to help you decide what is good for you and implore Him to inspire you to make the right choices.
But the service of God is different. He has already outlined the right course for us to take in the Torah and commanded us to choose it. He has guaranteed us reward for doing it. “Hashem commanded us to keep all these rules…for our own good, to give us life...” (Devarim 6.24)
We are guaranteed spiritual success if we follow God's commandments, but material success is dependent on trust in God and Prayers to Him.