PROVERB PRACTICALS   the delight of diligence, proverbs 12:24 audio

 

Proverbs 12:24, The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.  

God in this proverb gives us a time to ponder one of the glories of his creation, and that is the hands of man for the hands of man declare that God has work for man to do.   

God brought forth Adam, our first father, and He equipped him with hands in order to dress and keep the Garden called Eden. 

With eight fingers and two thumbs man is equipped to work like no other creature that God has made.  

With thumbs made to be in opposite direction to the fingers man is enabled to do far more complicated and precise operations with his hands than any creature that God has created.   

Hands certainly are part of the image of God for hands are of utmost importance in exercising the creative gifts that God has given to man.  

God by his word spoke the worlds into existence but man is given hands to bring things to be.     

Now hands are not only created to work and do complicated and precise things they are also assigned to care for the body.  

They are assigned to protect the body and to sacrifice themselves if necessary to insure that other parts of the body survive.  

The hand described in this proverb is an open hand, a hand ready to work, a hand ready to grasp a tool or hold an implement or push or pull in order to accomplish a task.  

It is a hand in a lifting and carrying position in order to make something happen.   

It is not a slack hand resting at the side or resting on the stomach or hidden in crossed arms on the chest for that kind of hand results in poverty and want.   

For as Proverbs 10:4 says: He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. 

The hand of our proverb is not a folded hand, perhaps a right hand that is only caressing the left hand.  

It is not a hand that has retired, cooperating with the body in a little sleep, a little slumber for if the hand is usually in that position the Bible tells us that soon:

shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

No, this is not a slack hand, this is not a hand that is simply an appendage, a hand adorned in rings and long fingernails and painted with decoration designed to show it off, this is not a soft hand without wear and tear. 

No, this is a hand belonging to the diligent. 

This hand belongs to one who is steady in business, one who is constant in effort or exertion in accomplishing what is undertaken.

This hand belongs to the man or woman who is attentive, industrious, one who is not idle or negligent in attending to his or her responsibilities.

This is a hand that is engaged in hard work for the one who moves this hand knows that hard work works.

This hand belongs to the man who knows that hard work moves him in a direction of rule or authority and the opposite of hard work moves him in a direction of submission or subservience. 

He knows that hard work is not dependent on education, or talent or intelligence or skill or cleverness, or cunning.   

He knows that hard work or diligence requires the giving of his all with a constancy of effort toward completion of a specified aim or goal. 

And he knows that in this world where people have dreams to have it all but do not have it in them to exert maximum effort to reach their dreams it is very easy for the diligent to rise fast and farther than those who are slothful and impatient. 

In other words there is plenty of room at the top for there is a dearth or scarcity in the land of men or women who are diligent. 

We live in a world that idolizes education and I do not intend to discount education but this proverb makes no mention of education.   

It makes mention of the hand of the diligent bearing rule and the hand of the slothful under that rule.   

The Bible promotes hard work as the key to advancement.  

Education opens doors and provides methods and ways to accomplish work but education will not substitute for diligence. 

A man may spend hours sharpening an axe, honing the axe to its finest edge, but how many trees will be felled by the lazy man.  

One may have the finest shop, the most equipped kitchen, the latest and best electronic equipment, but without diligence they are simply show places or pieces to reveal the slothful. 

There is no correlation between the sharpness of an axe and the number of trees felled for it all depends on the diligence of the axman.

So our proverb,
The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute, presents a reality of life.   

Being lazy or slothful or indolent or laid back will bring loss in life.   

Those who choose to be slothful or lazy will end up serving the diligent.  

Regardless of their ability or intelligence or education it is their choice to be slothful but that will bring them under others who choose to work hard.  

God gives us free will and a part of that free will is to choose to be lazy or to choose to be diligent but the results of that choice God chooses for you.   

If you choose diligence God says you are in the group who will bear rule but if you choose to be slothful you will be in the group who will be under tribute to those who bear rule.   

Under tribute means being under forced labor.   

In other words diligence will bring a comfort that slothfulness will not bring.   

This is an interesting thought for it would appear that diligence is hard and slothfulness is easy but God is telling us that the results are the opposite.   

Diligence will bring comfort and slothfulness will bring labor.   

Remember the saying: A stitch in time will save nine.   

Diligence about doing that which is needed at the right time will save labor in the long run.   

The lazy sower who puts off sowing will have to labor longer in sowing nine stitches in order to catch up to the sower who sowed one stitch at the right time. 

It pays to be diligent.   

There is much reward in doing things at the right time, with the right effort and with the right attitude. 

You can by hard work rise up to positions of responsibility or rule or you can be satisfied to just get by doing the minimum to live. 

As I said there is plenty of room at the top but the top is looking for the diligent.   

An employer is amazed by the young man or woman who will go the extra mile, who will take on the extra load and who does not avoid or try to lessen his work. 

The diligent young person does not have to try to stand out by artificial means. 

He or she only has to work hard with a good attitude and spirit and will automatically stand out above those who are just interested in a pay check.   

Employers are looking for the employee who will roll up their sleeves and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.   

I was in Pensacola the other day and while waiting for the red light to change I watched some young men picking up litter around a gas station.   

They were using litter pick up tools that pinch the litter so that it can be placed in a bag.   

This tool is useful but it has its limitations.   

One of the boys was having trouble picking up some small pieces of metal siding with the tool and could have picked the item up with his hands ten times by the time he managed to pick it up with the tool.   

I certainly do not want to take away from this boyís readiness to work but his employer would have noted with pleasure if the boy bent down and got his hands dirty in the job by picking up the metal with his hands.   

The diligent are not afraid of getting their hands dirty. 

I am afraid that in todayís technological age hands are being set aside in favor of machines but God gave us hands for a purpose and there are no substitutes for hands when you consider the whole man.   

There is more to work than just getting the job done.   

The mother or father who does work instead of having the children do it is short changing the children in many things.   

When they say, ďI can do it so much faster and better so Iíd rather do it myselfĒ they are not doing their duty as a mother or father for in work God brings into childrenís lives purpose and value.   

And to withhold that from the child is to rob them of purpose and value.

In Lamentations 3:27 God tells us: It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.

Bearing a yoke is a burden but this is good, God tells us.

This does not say it is good for a man to get the job done quickly so he can unload the yoke. 

Work is given by God for the benefit of the young man and to take that from him is not wise.

Our natural tendency is toward comfort and we think we can find comfort by being lazy, or slothful as our proverb describes this.

Every advancement in technology is a move toward comfort or ease.  

Satanís way is the opposite of Godís way and therefore Satan plays to the desire of men to be at ease or comfort and therefore the actual doing of work is given no value and no thought is given when the doing of it is discarded. 

And therefore the hand in modern life is moving in the direction of slackness.

Shaking a slack hand is like holding a fish.   

It is lifeless and limp for a slack hand has no power. 

Those with slack hands, those who are slothful dislike labor, they avoid hard work and are easily distracted, they are slow and sluggish and therefore resent pressure or challenges, and have little drive. 

They justify their laziness in deceiving themselves into thinking that avoidance of diligence and hard work will make life easier but this is only based upon living for the moment. 

So a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep is a worthy pastime and this is their choice.   

But God looks further, for He looks down the road and poverty is in view and is definitely coming to visit the sleeper as sure as a traveler gets to his destination.  

The slothful may have sleep today but they do not see the pain, the suffering, the trouble that those short whiles of sleep will bring.   

The lazy have a short time view of things but the diligent look far down the road to see what they may have to face and when they see it they are diligent in preparing for what will come. 

God has provided the lowly ant who is the epitome of diligence to teach the sluggard about things like this for He says in Chapter 6 of Proverbs:

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

So God is telling us that hard work is its own reward.   

And on top of work being its own reward God throws in the product of work, perhaps a full wood shed or a good meal. 

Slothfulness may bring the immediate but it is sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate.   

It is settling for paltry immediate rewards that are soon gone instead of those things that last and will bring true comfort. 

The sluggard is a dreamer instead of a doer and dreams never put food on the table or wood in the shed.   

He may dream of a banquet but his hands refuse to labor to make it happen and this will eat him up.  

We are told this truth in:  Proverbs 21:25, The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. 

God is not a God of equality.   

God gives gifts to all men but they are of a varied kind.   

You may have many gifts or you may be limited in gifts but it does not take genius to be a hard worker, a diligent worker.   

Perhaps you are limited in your education or perhaps it is difficult to get further training but with purpose and by Godís grace you can work hard and because of Godís promises hard work will bring reward. 

Diligence is doing your best every day.   

Diligence is being on time every day.   

Diligence is being ready to take on extra duties, to ask for more work when things are slow.   

Diligence is not taking advantage of your employer, not thinking sick days are for the taking whether sick or not. 

Diligence is bringing a profit to the workplace and not working just enough to make your payroll.   

Diligence is working, knowing that you are under the Lordís watchful eye.   

Diligence is doing everything heartily as unto the Lord knowing that God writes your true evaluation and you will hear it at the judgment seat of Christ. 
Godís word convinces that diligence is essential if you expect to live a successful life. 

It is important in your relationship with God, in the home, in your marriage, with your children, and with the body of Christ.

II Peter 1 reminds us by giving all diligence we are to add to our faith virtue, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience and godliness, kindness, and charity and by diligence you are to make your calling and election sure. 

God wants the best for His children and the best always includes the virtue of diligence.

Proverbs 12:24, The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute