The Diligent Worker Prevails
Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste. (Proverbs 13:23)
As I was reading the Bible, I came upon the scripture above. I’ve read it several times before since the beginning of the year and may have even added it to something I have written. However, I felt the need to take a look at it again. I have found that with God, if I’m led to something multiple times, there’s always a reason.
Fallow ground simply means ground or soil that is plowed and tilled but left unseeded for a period of time. The land is allowed to rest and regenerate to become more fruitful after seeding it. During the time it is fallow, it becomes overgrown with thorns and weeds. When it’s time to seed again, the cultivator must break up the fallow ground, removing the weeds and thorns before sowing seed in it. Of course, some may see the weeds and thorns and think it’s too much work to remove them, not really realizing that underneath is a plush soil that can produce wonderful nourishment when hard work is applied. They may prefer others to do the work while they plan a way to obtain the fruit, sometimes in an unjust manner, or the one planting may be wasting what he obtains which can represent a lack of justice.
When we look at the context of this scripture, it speaks about righteousness and wickedness, hard workers and lazy people, blessings and consequences of doing evil. When one works hard for what they want, and does so honestly, they will reap the rewards of the Lord’s blessings and their hard work. But when they try to achieve through dishonest gains, they will suffer the consequences.
In this scripture, there are different examples that we can learn from:
1. Sometimes when we want something or wish to achieve a goal, we may start out the right way through hard work, but in time when things seem much better and we seem to have what we want, we may begin to mismanage or waste what the Lord has given to us and we’ve worked so hard for. When this happens, everything we have can be wasted away until we have nothing left.
2. Then there are those who may not realize they do have the resources they need, but because they waste what they have on wants instead of needs, they find themselves always in debt and unable to make ends meet or provide for themselves or their families.
3. Yet another meaning to this scripture implies that there are those who diligently work hard for what they have but through tyranny (abuse of power), others come along, and devise a scheme to take what one has worked hard for.
God blesses the hard worker who works diligently for what he needs. This doesn’t mean a person who is a workaholic and works with barely any rest. That would be an idolatrous person. It simply means one who puts in a hard day’s work to achieve their goal and does so honestly. The consequences come when that worker turns to dishonesty. Their wealth will eventually diminish. This could be caused from fear, jealousy or covetousness. Verse 11 confirms:
Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.
Get rich quick schemes fall into this category. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen ads for jobs that say “make $5000 dollars in one month by doing this…call us today!” These ads promise less work and lots of money, but what they don’t tell you is what you have to do to get it, which either ends up being more work or achieving the pay underhandedly. Sometimes it’s easy to lean towards a job that promises more with less work, especially when you may be in a job that has you working long hours with less pay or you feel unappreciated in. Sometimes we fall into this in our recovery process as well. Following what seems to be an easier route to healing but ends up being temporary or harming you further. We must realize that God does reward those who work diligently and honestly. He does not bless those who choose the easy way out, works underhandedly or simply does not want to work at all but wants to only receive. There are several scriptures that support this right in Proverbs 13:
Vs 4: The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
Vs 7: There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches
Vs 19: A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Vs 25: The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, but the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.
One thing to remember is that although the words “rich” and “prosperity” can represent financial gain, it also represents spiritual gain as well. We can be in poverty but rich in our soul. How can we be rich in our soul? By being content with what we have even when it’s not much. By trusting in God to provide knowing He hasn’t forgotten us. By not fearing to share with others in times of need and trusting God will replenish what you have given.
When we work hard for something honestly, it is an accomplishment and satisfying to our soul. We will get to enjoy the fruits of our labor because God has blessed it. We must to be careful, however, of falling into the “I” mindset and not giving God the glory. This comes under pride.
What is your mindset?
– Can you see a situation or job that has many thorns and briers but with hard work and diligence, can remove them and get down to the plush soil underneath, plant your seeds and grow to reap a harvest of plenty to provide for you and/or others?
– Or are you the person who sees a situation or job with those same thorns and briers but not willing to disrupt your life enough to work at removing them and plant your seeds so they grow to reap that harvest of plenty? Instead you wait for others to do the work and you try to reap their rewards.
This is a crucial question you must ask yourself. We cannot expect to receive without putting for the effort to work for it (though we can be blessed with provision by someone on occasion). We cannot expect to heal without first putting forth the effort to apply God’s word on a daily basis to obtain that healing. In other words, God does not bless laziness but He does bless the hard worker.
Where are you at today?
- Have you worked hard for something, but along the way took a different route that led to dishonest gains?
- Have you mismanaged your funds leading to debt and very little left over to survive on?
- Have you mismanaged your life that has led to great difficulty and sorrow?
- Are you that diligent, hard worker who has done everything correctly and honestly but sees very little of the fruit because it continues to be stolen either physically or spiritually?
- Or are you the lazy person who does want to receive but are not willing to work for it?
If you are that diligent worker, don’t stop! God will bless you and provide for your every need. He sees your hard work and dedication to Him and to your work. If the fruits of your labor are being stolen, He will replenish. Never give up due outside circumstances, no matter how bad things may look. This is where you must remain steadfast in your work whether it’s providing for your family, ministry work, education, etc. Do not lose hope. Though it may take time or it seems like God isn’t helping, don’t become discouraged. He sees your situation and He will provide.
If you are the one who started out on the right path but veered off due to fatigue, frustration, or temptation, all is not lost. You have the chance to get back on the correct path though it may mean starting over again. That’s ok, because you know what you need to do, you just have to do it. You may disappoint some people or even make them angry by choosing to do things the right way, but know that God will give you the strength to move in the right direction and will, in time, bless your hard work again. Confess, repent, and move forward.
Have you mismanaged your funds, your ministry, your position or your life? You too have a chance to change and become obedient to God. Confess, repent and move forward. Be determined to make things right and manage properly what God has given you, and you will eventually see the fruit of your hard work. Pray for God to take control of your finances, ministry, or life and ask Him to provide you with self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit.
Are you that diligent worker who has done everything correctly and honestly but you never seem to see much fruit or it is stolen away from you? I know what that’s like. Rest assured, if you remain diligent in your work, God will provide and restore what you have lost. This will take patience and a whole lot of faith. God is a just God and though it may seem like the other person or the enemy is getting away with taking from you, God does see what is happening but is also monitoring you how respond to it. This situation may be used to strengthen you spiritually or to teach perseverance, so ask God what you need to learn from this. But do not be discouraged. Though you seem to have little, you really do have much!
Finally, if you are the lazy one who wants to reap the benefits but has no desire to work for it, you need to change because there may come a time when no one will be able to provide for you and you will therefore have to provide for yourself. Proverbs 20:4 states the following:
The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.
This not only applies physically but spiritually as well. Not only must we be diligent in physical work, but we must be diligent in preparing our hearts and walking out our own salvation for the Lord’s return. We must continuously keep ourselves in check. When times are tough (winter – physically or spiritually) and we do not keep our hearts in check, we may not overcome those difficult moments. We will expect everyone else to help us out but they may not be able to. A lazy person will make excuses as to why they are unable to work come spring, summer, winter and fall. They do not want to come out of their comfort zone. If we fail to work when we should, and continue to make excuses for ourselves, we will have nothing and go hungry when everyone else are reaping from their harvest. Again, this applies both physically and spiritually.
Take a moment today to see where you are and go before the Lord while there is still time. Do not be content in the condition you are in. Seek God for His help before it’s too late. It’s a matter of eternity.