That Was Awesome!

Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor. Proverbs 12:24

It was the seventh-grader’s first cross-country meet, but she didn’t want to run. Although she’d been preparing for the event, she was afraid of doing poorly. Still, she started the race with everyone else. Later, one by one the other runners finished the two-mile course and crossed the finish line—everyone except the reluctant runner. Finally, her mom, who was watching for her daughter to finish, saw a lone figure in the distance. The mother went to the finish line, preparing to comfort a distraught competitor. Instead, when the young runner saw her mom, she exclaimed, “That was awesome!”

What can be awesome about finishing last? Finishing!

The girl had tried something difficult and had accomplished it! Scripture honors hard work and diligence, a concept often learned through sports or music or other things that require perseverance and effort.

Proverbs 12:24 says, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” And later we read, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (14:23). These wise principles—not promises—can help us serve God well.

God’s plan for us always included work. Even before the fall, Adam was to “work [the Garden] and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). And any effort we make should be done “with all [our] heart” (Colossians 3:23). Let’s work in the strength He gives us—and leave the results to Him.

What are some areas where I can learn from this teenager to be diligent and persevere? How does doing my best and working hard honor God?

Heavenly Father, whatever it is You have asked me to do today—big or small—help me to do it.

INSIGHT

Proverbs is one of the Old Testament books of Wisdom Literature, along with Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. One characteristic of these works is their large use of poetry. And, as the name of this genre implies, their main focus is on attaining wisdom. In Proverbs, the authors (mainly Solomon and others) primarily use pithy sayings to instruct God’s people in applying wisdom to daily life. As one commentary explains, wisdom here denotes “skill in the art of godly living.” Among the main themes of Proverbs are friendship, speech, marriage, child-rearing, work, and diligence and laziness. We see the contrasting theme of laziness and diligence in today’s passage, particularly in 12:24, 27, and throughout Proverbs (6:6–10; 10:4; 20:13; 24:30–34).

To learn more about the poetic literature of the Old Testament, visit christianuniversity.org/OT128-08.

Alyson Kieda

By |2019-11-04T12:12:20-05:00November 8th, 2019|