Proverbs 10:4-5

Proverbs 10:4-5 "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame."
Proverbs 10:4-5 Baptist Church Buffalo NY
These verses are a lot more about morality than they are about money.  By itself, verse four draws a direct line between someone’s work ethic and their bank account.  When combined with verse five however, both verses draw a direct line between someone’s work ethic and virtue.  Whether we realize it or not, how we work is an indication of the soul.  Work ethic is not amoral.  Work ethic is not confined to the work site or the work week.  Work ethic is an expression of one’s morality.  Work ethic is an expression of one’s soul.  Work ethic is called such because it is one’s ETHICS, or one’s moral philosophy as it pertains to labor.

Verse four connects a person’s work ethic to their financial future while verse five connects a child’s work ethic to their reputation.  When linking the two verses, “the hand of the diligent” is equated to “he that gathereth in summer” while “a slack hand” is equated to “he that sleepeth in harvest.”  This obvious connection allows the reader to draw the right conclusion that a diligent worker is a wise worker while a lazy person is a foolish person.  This is especially easy to conclude when taking verse one into account since Solomon taught “a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”  Solomon is doing much more than pronouncing poverty on the lazy.  He is teaching the important truth that one’s morality is exposed in their work ethic.  Diligence is the natural result of wisdom while laziness is the natural consequence of foolishness.

Someone who works hard evidences some sense of wisdom while the soul that doesn’t work hard evidences no wisdom at all.  There is no wisdom in the man or woman who “deals with a slack hand,” or who is a procrastinator.  When the Bible speaks of a “slack hand,” it is speaking in the same manner we are speaking when we call someone a slacker.  When you’re running a line of rope or wire and you want it tight, you need to get the slack out of it – you’re getting the part of the line that is loose out.  When someone wants you to take it easy on them, they say, “cut me some slack!”  The Bible uses the word in the same way.  In Joshua 10:6, the Gibeonites called the Israelites for help and said, Slack not thy hand from they servants; come up to us quickly, and save us.”  The Gibeonites wanted the Israelites to come immediately; without delay or procrastination.  God told the Hebrews in Deuteronomy 23:21, “When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it.”  God would not tolerate a lazy or procrastinated fulfillment of a promise made to Him.        
There is some sign of wisdom in the person who takes care of their property and gathers their crops in the summer.  There is no wisdom however, in the person who “sleepeth in harvest.”  Laziness any time of the year is an indication of a moral flaw but laziness during harvest is a massive sign of foolishness residing in the soul.  When the Bible speaks of summer and harvest, it is speaking of the same season, which is the growing and harvesting season.  The Bible does not speak of four seasons, as we think the seasons to be.  It only speaks of two seasons – summer and winter or seedtime and harvest.  In most cases, the Bible refers to seasons as pairs.  Consider Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant (or seedtime), and a time to pluck up that which is planted (or harvest);  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”  Genesis 8:22 reveals the Bible’s view on seasons as pairs as well when it reads, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”  Psalm 74:17 and Zechariah 14:8 both define seasons as only “summer and winter” while Jeremiah 8:20 and Proverbs 6:8 equate “summer” and “harvest.”  In Solomon’s eyes, the diligent work hard all summer and especially hard gathering all of the fruit at the end of summer during harvest.  The person who takes it easy in the summer and sleeps in the harvest is a foolish person.

In most cases, a person’s work ethic will determine a person’s finances, which is an important truth to learn.  But the greater truth to learn in these verses is that our work ethic does more than determine our finances – it determines our reputation.  The lazy in life almost always have substantial debt, bad credit and constant money problems.  The procrastinators in life almost always get behind and stay behind in their bills.  Even though lazy souls will blame bad luck, bad breaks and bad bosses, the problem is always bad work ethic.  Bad work ETHIC is always the result of foolishness.  Bad work ETHIC is always the evidence of foolishness.  Laziness isn’t a physical problem; it’s a spiritual problem.  Laziness isn’t a working problem as much as it’s a thinking problem.  Laziness isn’t a money problem as much as it’s a moral problem.  How we work reveals who we are.  How we take care of our home reveals how we take care of our soul.  How we take care of our property and our vehicles reveals how we take care of our soul.  How we take care of our rooms and our possessions reveal how we take care of our soul.  A lazy child becomes impoverished and more importantly, an embarrassment to his or her parents.  A lazy child becomes the shame of his parents because he exposes a parent’s failure to rid their child of foolishness.
How is your work ETHIC?  How is your moral philosophy as it pertains to labor?   What does your work ethic reveal about your soul?





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