Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich. A wise youth works hard all summer; a youth who sleeps away the hour of opportunity brings shame. — Proverbs 10:4-5
Proverbs like this are generally true, but there seem to be exceptions to every rule. There are some lazy people who seem to have the Midas touch: they do very little, but what they touch turns to gold. By the same token, there are hard workers who never seem to be able to dig themselves out of the hole of their financial misfortune.
That said, there is great wisdom in reminding people who choose not to work that the result will be poverty, and “the poverty of the poor is their calamity” (10:15). The lazy person may blame his calamity on everything but himself. But the root of his problem lies between his two ears: his attitude toward work is all wrong. He neither sees work as a privilege nor recognizes the nobility of labor. He doesn’t like work, and he feels obliged to avoid everything he does not like. It matters not to him that God worked and that Jesus spent the bulk of his life in honest toil. He is oblivious to the benefits of using his God-given time and talents, and he is not interested in producing something of value that will enrich the life of a needy person. Truly, a man “who sleeps away the hour of opportunity brings shame” (10:5).
On the other hand, the man who sets about his work with energy and determination usually provides abundantly for his dependents and produces enough to give generously to those in need. “The earnings of the godly enhance their lives” (10:16). He has the means to offer to the Lord the fruit of his labor, and in the glow of this worshipful activity, the Lord’s work prospers through the work of his hands. Such a man is aware that, while his work is productive—“the blessing of the Lord makes a person rich” (10:22)—it is the Lord who gives a man the ability to get wealth! The wise man knows it, utilizes the abilities he has been granted, and mingles his sweat with praise and his energies with thanksgiving.
So while there are noble poor people and rich rascals, as a general rule the lazy languish and the productive prosper. Those who work hard can take delight in a job well done, and they enjoy the benefits of things well earned. But those who lie lazily in self-induced poverty take delight in very little, for they have little that is delightful to enjoy.
For further study: Proverbs 10:1-22
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.