By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
Hard work is a Christian virtue. It is a sign of increasing godliness. God does not want a person to waste their life but to move forward using all the opportunities that God has placed within each person’s path. Even before “The Fall,” Adam was to tend the garden. Hard work leads to a purposeful life and a balanced life. God does want a person to work (if able bodied) but He never wants a person to be a workaholic.
Solomon used the ant as an example of how a person is to approach work. An ant has a tireless work ethic. An ant does not have someone standing over them making sure that their daily work is done. An ant has something inside of them that causes them to work diligently. The only way to keep an ant from working is to kill it. Ants do not procrastinate. The ant prepares its provisions in summer.
What can a person learn from the ant? First, be self-motivated. As a believer, God should be all the motivation needed to get our work done each day. God will always give the believer the tools and encouragement needed in his daily work. Second, we represent God in our work (I Corinthians 10:31). Someone has said that a Christian is a walking/talking billboard for Christ. A believer might be the only Bible someone “reads.” When a Christian is lazy or procrastinates at his work, it sends the wrong message about God to others. Third, there is delayed gratification. Work hard today for a better tomorrow. There is a period of time between sowing and reaping. Enjoy the fruits of labor today but at the same time, store up for the future. Provisions are made for hard or lean times.
Now Solomon describes a lazy person who does not follow the example of the ant. A lazy man loves sleep. Unlike the hard working person who gets up in the morning whether he/she wants to or not, the lazy person stays in bed (Proverbs 26:14). Lazy people often have poor sleep habits as opposed to a hard working person who works hard during the day but sleeps well during the night. A lazy person lacks the ambition and self-discipline necessary to get out of bed and to go to a job. A lazy person always wants possessions but doesn’t want to have to work in order to obtain them (Proverbs 13:4, 21:25). He always desires something for nothing.
What can a person learn from the lazy man? First, although God is the source of all blessings, that is never an excuse for laziness. God does not overlook laziness and bless with abundance. The lazy reap what they sow — nothing! A great predictor of poverty is laziness. Each person has a role to play in meeting daily needs. Some people blame God for their financial situation when, in reality, often times they are in poverty because of poor choices.
People who earn their money by the sweat of their brow are more likely to spend their earnings wisely. God is for hard work which brings a sense of purpose. God is against those things which make you poor — laziness, idleness, dishonesty, deceit, and lack of focus. God is for those things which cause a secure life — hard work, honesty, diligence, etc. People, who honor God with their finances, open themselves up to God’s best — which is a stable and secure life.