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December 23, 1992

Direct Flight to the Poorhouse

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Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. PROVERBS 10:4-5
Many proverbs that deal with money focus on wealth or poverty, but this one is about work ethic. Generally speaking, a man who is bent toward laziness will miss out on the fruits of the harvest, while the diligent worker collects wealth. The diligent employee—the one with the good work ethic—is wise; the lazy employee—the one with the bad work ethic—is a disgrace.
A diligent person has the initiative he needs to stay focused on his task. In this setting, for example, he knows exactly when the crops are ready to harvest, and he works long hours during the harvest to get them gathered up and stored in the barn.
The lazy employee, on the other hand, likes to sleep in. When he makes it to the office, he does his job with very little enthusiasm. He doesn’t pay attention to detail. If he works hard one day, he slacks off the next. Unlike the ant in Proverbs 6:7-8, which “has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest,” the lazy employee has absolutely no idea what it means to be self-motivated. Without a boss dangling an incentive package or bonus in front of his nose, he just can’t get going.
Every work setting provides ample opportunity for lazy people to survive, perhaps even to thrive. It might be a little more difficult in a smaller, entrepreneurial environment where everyone has to pull his own weight, but if given the chance, a lazy person could scheme his way out of good work there, too. In the long run, however, such a work ethic leads to only one place: the poorhouse.
Are you a diligent worker, or do you tend to be a bit on the lazy side?

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