“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
Proverbs 13:4 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you had a blessed week. I have been writing on the topic of “thankfulness”. This may not be directly related to thankfulness. However, I can make a connection by saying that most people who are thankful for opportunities, work to use those opportunities to the fullest. Make sense? LOL. I hope so.
Now, let’s look at Proverbs 13:4. It is a verse of comparing and contrasting those who work hard and those who are lazy. It is implied that both the sluggard and the diligent have dreams and wishes about their life. They both may have a wish list of things they want. They both may want things like a high sum of money, a good job, a nice house, a new car, and a dream lifestyle. They may both want great relationships with God, friends, and family members. I think we all have hopes, dreams, and desires at times. However, the difference comes in the amount of work that one is willing to put in to get the things they want.
The first part of Proverbs 13:4 (KJV) says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing:”. This makes sense. Those who are not willing to do anything won’t end up with much as a result.
I know what you are thinking. Okay, maybe I don’t. But… you might be thinking that there are some people who are born into money and seem to get anything they want without lifting a finger. How does this verse fit into their life? Well, you might have a different thought, but I am thinking that even though they may not lift a finger for what they get, their heart may not be happy and satisfied with what they are getting. They may want to be out there making a difference. They may want to be out of the “castle”, so to speak, and to live like “the rest of the world”. We don’t know their heart’s desires. So, it is wrong to assume that they are getting what they desire, just because they are wealthy in monetary value and seem to be spoiled.
So, does sluggard mean someone who does nothing at all? I don’t think this is necessarily true. I think sluggard could also means someone who does the least amount possible or those who try to find the easy way out. I think a sluggard might be someone who works hard for maybe a few days or weeks and expects to have as much as someone who has worked a lifetime. A sluggard might be someone who isn’t focused and who jumps from one thing to another to another and doesn’t work on one desire for very long. It is someone who ends up spinning their wheels and digging a rut, because of the lack of focus and diligence on one goal. I also think that we need to really look sometimes, because it might feel like we are being diligent, but we are really being more of a sluggard.
In contrast, the last part of Proverbs 13:4 (KJV) states, “but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat”. To put this in simple terms, it means that those who work hard will reap a big reward for their efforts. This makes sense as well. Often times, people will give up before reaching their goal or chooses another goal thinking that their goal isn’t quite right. Yet, a diligent person will work at it and stick with something until achievement. Sometimes, a goal and its path need to be adjusted. However, a diligent person will know that and be willing to do that as well. I think a diligent person also makes allowances for various contingencies in order to get to the end goal.
A diligent person might also be considered as someone who has “all their bases covered” so to speak. They especially know that prayer and a relationship with God is their best resource in choosing and working towards a goal. If we have goals that align with God’s will for us, we will be more apt to be able to achieve what we want as well. Being diligent might be a “mindset” as well as actual work. A diligent person might work “smart” as well as hard. He or she might utilize all the given resources and opportunities, including things like prayer, faith, courage, and obedience, as well as the actual physical work.
Another thing to remember is that a diligent person keeps working even when he or she doesn’t see success. God might be showing them that they are really working for a more heavenly goal than the one they think they want. Just because a person may not be in a season of monetary wealth and may not feel successful, or may even be in a time of trials, doesn’t mean that he or she should give up. A diligent person will pray for guidance and keep on going in the direction God calls him or her to go.
I have one last thought about Proverbs 13:4 and it’s message. I think that we can’t judge a book by its cover. We can’t necessarily look at someone and tell whether they are a sluggard or a diligent person. Remember the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was in the kitchen doing things and preparing things. She thought that Mary was being lazy in not helping her. However, Mary was doing something. She was listening, learning, and following Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42)
Thank you for being our Provider, our Heavenly Father, and our Creator. Thank you for giving us a road map to follow and being our Guiding Light down the path of life. Help us to be the diligent person in life, instead of the sluggard. Help us to know that diligence isn’t just an act, but also a mindset. Help us to do our due diligence in heeding your Word and your will for us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 13:4 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 13:4 mean to me?
*Am I a sluggard or a diligent person?
*Do I seem to achieve my goals and get the desires of my heart?
*Do I agree that diligence is a mindset as well as the act of working?
*What other verse or verses remind me of Proverbs 13:4?
*How can I better heed the words in Proverbs 13:4?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy ponderings on:
*2 Corinthians 13:5
Now, it is your turn:
I am so thankful that you are here. In a post like this, please know that I am not judging. I offer these posts so we all can self-reflect on our own actions or inaction, pray, and ask for guidance from our loving Lord. I pray that God speaks to you and blesses you through this time of pondering and self-reflection.
If you feel called to do so, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I am always looking for what you might want to ponder next. I enjoy digging deeper into God's Word. I hope you enjoy it with me.
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“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.”
Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV)
I have read this passage over and over again and it still intrigues me that an ant is the one God has chosen to hold up as a good example here. I am sure that out of all the creatures God has created there is any number of creatures that could have been used as an example, but the ant was chosen. That still tickles me, especially since I am always trying to get rid of ants, which invade my home and seem to want to take over.
So let’s take a look at ants as our example. Ants are small creatures, yet they are great little workers. As a matter of fact, according to Pest World for Kids, ants can lift 20 times their body weight. Wow! They are definitely strong for their size. However, they probably don’t get that strong by being lazy and complaining that they are too small to lift such a heavy load. They are probably that strong, because they work at it.
Yet, it isn’t their strength that is considered here, but their work ethic. They dutifully gather food without being told that they must do it. Nobody is forcing them to do what they know needs to be done. They just go out and look for food and gather it in. Ants seem to “know” that if they don’t work together and gather the food, then they will not last. The work has to be done whether they want to do it or not or they won’t survive. Not only do ants gather food for their own survival, but also they do it for the survival of others in their colony.
Sadly, people are not always like that. Some of us do have a great work ethic. We do what we need to do whether we feel up to it or not, because we know that it is the right thing to do and that our survival and life style may depend on it.
It seems that the work ethic of our society in general is diminishing generation by generation. As time goes by and technology gets greater, we feel that the need to work hard gets less and less. As a matter of fact, it seems that the reason for technology is to create less of a need to work and enables us to be lazy. Don’t get me wrong; technology can be useful and helpful in many things. It can help save lives and can bring us closer to friends and loved ones all over the world. Yet, when it is used to ease our workload, is it really helping us?
I even wonder if our welfare programs aren’t doing more harm for our society than good. Not that I think that it is bad to help those in need. I think it is great to be able to help those who are going through difficult times. Yet, I also wonder that besides sometimes enabling some of those on the system to work less than in reality they may be able to work, it also takes away from those in society who loving want to help.
We are taxed more in order for the welfare programs to work. However, a good part of that tax also goes towards the running of the programs. And, sometimes we as individuals feel resentful, because we are being made to give and are not giving willfully from our hearts. Yet, since being taxed, we might not feel the same ability and desire to help others in the same way as if we weren’t taxed for that purpose. Not only that, but if we had the chance to give from the heart with that money instead of being taxed, we may be able to find more effective ways to put that money to use for our neighbors in need. It seems like it would be more of a win/win situation.
If we look back at Proverbs 6:6, the ant is even called wise, because of it’s good work ethic. This is something to really ponder. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be considered less wise than an ant. Do you?
So, in considering our society and our own personal work ethic, let’s ponder and pray about the words of Solomon in this passage. Let us think about God’s Word and follow His infinite wisdom for our life instead of the societal norms and our individual eases.
Thank you for loving us and caring for us enough to share your infinite wisdom with us. Thank you for showing us that a good work ethic is important and valued in your sight. Help us to work faithfully to do your will, no matter how difficult it may seem. Help us to follow your will for us, despite societal norms. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 6:6-8 mean to me?
*What is God trying to show me with this verse?
*What can I learn from the ants?
*Do have a good work ethic?
*What do I feel about technology and its role as it pertains to work ethics?
*What do I feel about social programs and their role as it pertains to work
Now, it is your turn.
I would like to hear your thoughts? Comment below. Also, I created some questions to ask yourself while reading your Bible to further your understanding. If you are interested, sign up and download your copy below. It is free!
This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.