Focal Passages: Proverbs 13:4; 14:23; 20:4; 24:30-34; 26:13-14; 28:19; 6:6-8; 10:5; 14:4; 21:20; 24:27; 27:23-27; 11:24-25; 19:17; 22:9; 28:27
A few years ago I noticed that the Bible has nothing good to say about laziness. As many people in my generation have demonstrated, laziness can become a lifestyle. Solomon reminds us that this problem is not new: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit” (Proverbs 24:33-34). A seminary professor once warned our class that people who seek to avoid one ditch often end up in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. For example, Christians who want to avoid living like their works will earn them God’s favor may be tempted to avoid work altogether. Similarly, Christians who embrace the “You can’t take it with you!” approach to avoiding materialism, may neglect biblical stewardship of their money and possessions. We must faithfully manage even the temporary tools we will leave behind.
Solomon reminded the slacker that hard work is part of life, even for the ant. Ants not only work hard, they work wisely. I come from a line of ancestors who sometimes were known to work an hour to figure out how to save five minutes. While that choice probably seemed like a waste of 55 minutes to many people, they knew that five minutes saved on a process repeated hundreds of times would pay off quickly. Even though ants have no supervisors (as we think of them), they do the right work at the right time to prepare (Proverbs 6:6-8).
Financial author and radio host Dave Ramsey encourages his readers and listeners to “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” He frequently follows that statement with the explanation that people who work hard and work smart can get out of debt and give like never before. Christians who give generously will continue to give, and the ones who hoard will never have enough (Proverbs 11:24). God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), so let us not be slack in our generosity.