Proverbs 12:24

Proverbs 12:24 "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute."
Proverbs 12:24 Bible-Believing Church Buffalo NY
The human spirit has a particular intrigue with being in charge.  This intrigue begins early in life and often lasts all the way to the end of life.  No one likes being told what to or what not to do, where to go and where not to go.  Most children naturally try to boss around their younger siblings and at some point, those younger siblings go crying to their parents because they get sick of it.  Depending on personalities, the roles may be reversed with the younger child ruling the older child.  Children naturally posture for power in families, cliques, social circles, teams and groups.  This tendency continues into adulthood with most men and women disliking being under the authority of managers, employers, politicians and even spouses.  In time, the child can't wait to be the parent, the student can't wait to be the teacher, the citizen can't wait to be the politician, the employee can't wait to be the employer and the powerless can't wait to be the powerful.  Most of us want authority because most of us don't like being under authority.  And so, we seek to become an authority.

Power is relatively easy to obtain.  An evening of romance can give you a lifetime or at least a few decades of authority over another human being that you created.  A little ambition and some capital can give you the authority of being the owner of a company.  Making friends with powerful people can earn you the authority of an organization or campaign.  Merely being born into a wealthy or privileged family can bring you power as it did in the Monarchies of Scripture.  Getting power is not nearly as hard as maintaining power.  This proverb is not informing anyone on how to obtain power; it is teaching us how to maintain power.  Its author understood by personal experience that power is not hard to obtain if you're the son of royalty.  Maintaining or keeping that power is a whole different story.  Solomon is addressing how to "BEAR," or keep authority and power.  The word, "bear" generally means to sustain or carry something.  The prophet, Isaiah wrote of Jesus, "He shall BEAR their iniquities" (Is. 53:11).  In Luke 14:27, Jesus said, "Whosoever doth not BEAR his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."  Paul wrote of Charity that she "BEARETH all things" (1 Cor. 13:7).  He told the Galatians to "BEAR ye one another's burdens" (6:2).  A ruler, or leader is identified in Scripture as such by what is in his hand.  Romans 13 addresses authority and speaking of the government in verse 4, it reads, "he BEARETH not the SWORD in vain." Other Scripture references place a rod or a staff or a sceptre in a ruler's hand.  When power is obtained, the hand of that ruler is holding something and the length of his rulership is determined by how long he can hold that object.

Solomon shares insight with the rest of the non-ruling world that he learned by experience and more importantly, by Divine Wisdom.  The way to maintain power is not by mouth or by mind.  The way to maintain power is not by talking nice to people or by striking the fear of God into people, although how we talk and what we say matters.  The way to maintain power is not by having great ideas or by making great decisions, although these intellectual components certainly matter.  This proverb teaches us that the greatest factor in maintaining authority and power is found in our HAND.  The "HAND of the Diligent BEARETH rule," meaning it maintains and preserves his power.  Hard work, not smooth talk, keeps a leader leading.  Hard work, not good ideas, keeps a ruler ruling.  There are a lot of virtues that help make a ruler a good ruler.  There are a lot of virtues that help make a leader a good leader.  When it comes to Leadership Longevity, there is no greater virtue than DILIGENCE.  

Rulers who stop working diligently will lose their power.  Leaders who stop being diligent in their position will lose their leadership.  People don't respect lazy leaders.  People don't follow lazy leaders.  Organizations, governments, companies, ministries and families with lazy leaders fall apart and when they do, their leaders lose their power.  Diligence is the longevity virtue.  Without it, power is lost.  Regardless how power is obtained, it is only maintained by diligence.  Running a company, a family, a church, a business, a town, a country, an organization, a team takes a ton of work.  There are countless people to manage, unending tasks to complete, constant challenges to address and diverse fires to put out.  A slothful person can't handle that workload for any length of time, which is why the slothful will return to and remain "under tribute," or back in general population where taxes where will be required.

This proverb may not show us all of the virtues necessary for good leadership but it clearly teaches us what is necessary for LONG LEADERSHIP.  If you have any interest in power, then you better value diligence.  If you hold a position of authority, then you better value diligence if you are to keep that position.  Fathers, if you are to maintain a position of leadership in your home, be diligent or else your wife and children will strip you of that leadership once they feel the effects of slothfulness.  Ministry Leaders, if you are to remain ministry leaders, be diligent or eventually, your leadership will be lacking and your position will be lost.
 
Because people see their superiors handing out work, they mistakenly think the way out of work is becoming an authority of some sort.  Don't fool yourself, the more authority you accept, the more work you'll be required to do.  The more power you obtain, the more work you'll need be responsible for.  Solomon was the supreme ruler of Israel in his day, which meant he had the supreme task of working harder than anyone else.  With all of that power came all of that work.  Had he been lazy or slothful, he would've had a very short reign.  If you're a leader or an aspiring leader, make sure your hand can BEAR the sceptre or sword.  Diligence is the virtue that keeps your hand strong over the course of time.

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