Wisdom About Work – Prov 10-13
An area in which we all need wisdom is in regards to our work. In Proverbs, we read that Solomon wanted his son to know the value of hard work and the foolishness of laziness. Here is some of the wisdom God gives all of us through Solomon related to our work:
- Desire is not enough. It takes both desire and diligence. The sluggard has many of the same desires as everyone else. He really wants to accomplish certain goals, but he does not want to put in the effort to accomplish them. ‘The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.’ (Proverbs 13:4)
- Diligence is the way to wealth; laziness is the way to poverty. ‘Those who deal with a slack hand will become poor, but those who are diligent become rich.’ (Proverbs 10:4) Laziness is described as ‘dealing with a slack hand’ – simply being too relaxed about things and letting little things slip. Rich people keep their hands engaged. They deal with a firm hand. They are continually making adjustments and not letting things slip.
- It is not enough to work hard; we must work smart. ‘He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: But he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.’ (Proverbs 10:5) Not only should farmers work at gathering in the crops, but they must also gather them at the right time. Hard work done at the wrong time does not necessarily change the outcome. So, we must think about when we work and how we work. There are certain key times, key methods that make our work must more effective. We must continue learning about how to make work most effective.
- Don’t rely on lazy people. They will just be an annoyance and frustration, like ‘vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes’. And don’t be the lazy person who causes others to be frustrated. ‘As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, So is the sluggard to them that send him.’ (Proverbs 10:26)
- Blessing comes to those who bless others. A key quality of those who want to increase is to be generous to others. Often we want to wait to give until it has been given to us, but if we won’t give out of what we have, then we probably won’t give when we have more. So, those who work hard and want to increase must demonstrate that God can bless them with more by being a giver now. ‘There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; And there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: And he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: But blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.” (Proverbs 11:24–26)
- Make the most of what you have. So often, we complain about what we would like, yet God wants us to be faithful with what we have. In other words, ‘Till the land you have.’ ‘He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: But he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.’ (Proverbs 12:11). Another Proverbs talks about ‘roasting what you took in hunting’. ‘The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: But the substance of a diligent man is precious.’ (Proverbs 12:27)
- Diligence is a key quality of those who want to lead. ‘The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: But the slothful shall be under tribute.’ (Proverbs 12:24) Often, those who get promoted are those who are being diligent. On the other hand, the slothful person usually ends us being ruled over.
Questions for meditation and action:
- What desires do we have that remain unfulfilled due to a lack of diligence on our part?
- In what areas of our life have our hands become slack? Where do we need to pick up the slack? In our spiritual life? our personal character and integrity? our family life? our church? our finances? our witness to the world?
- How could we work more cleverly or make better use of certain opportunities and times to be more effective?
- Would people around us feel blessed by relying upon us? or would they feel let down or annoyed by our unreliability?
- Are we seeking to increase for ourselves and our personal gain or so we can bless others more? If genuinely want to bless others, then we will begin to be generous now and bless others now with what we have. Only when we are faithful to do that are we in a place where God can bless us more.
- Are we being faithful with what we already have? What resource, ability or opportunity has God already given us that we could be more faithful with?