March 8, 2019
Show, Don’t Just Tell
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23, NIV)
Friend to Friend
I’m going to stop wasting time on TV.
I am going to lose twenty pounds.
I would like to help the poor.
I’m going to show my kids I am the boss once and for all.
I’ll apply myself at my work starting tomorrow.
Do any of these sentiments sound familiar? At some point, we get frustrated and fed up and make an impassioned vow to change. Like when my forty-something-year-old face breaks out with acne because I ate way too much chocolate the day before, I promise “No more chocolate until Easter!”
But alas, just a few days later if I’m given chocolate or find a secret stash at home, I’m prone to forget my words and eat dark, delicious chocolate instead.
It can be hard to back up our words with actions! Yet words without supporting actions are weak and powerless.
Today’s key verse reminds us that it’s hard work that results in profit, not just mere words, no matter how poetic or persuasive. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Hard work on one side of the equation. Mere talk on the other.
Now for many of us, talking is easier than working! But talking, without working, will make men and women poor, both financially and spiritually. It says it this way in Proverbs 10:4 (NKJV), “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
Do you know someone who talks big but works little? Now isn’t it funny that we quickly judge others based on their actions (I can’t believe she didn’t show up to volunteer!). But we judge ourselves based on our intentions (Well, I was planning to go but something important came up). With others especially those closest to us, we demand justice. With ourselves, we tend to apply mercy.
So, let’s take a moment today to take inventory of our talk and our walk. Do we follow through with our commitments? Do we work or do we just talk about how much we work? If I profess to be a Christian woman, do I act like one? Does my calendar, social media, bank account, credit card bill, and movie collection confirm or contradict who I say I am?
Now don’t get carried away. This isn’t meant to make you a crazed, work-oriented, legalistic person. Go back to the equation addressed in today’s proverb: hard work on one side, mere talk on the other. This is about ditching grandiose speeches and empty promises and foolish words. It’s about embracing hard work, good habits, faithfulness and diligence. Diligence means “careful and persistent work or effort.”
I read this saying in a Bible commentary about today’s key verse: “The stirring hand gets a penny.” Nowadays, not very many people are willing to stir anything for just a penny. We’re into “get rich quick” schemes and “3 easy steps” to whatever solution we need. But the way you get ahead in life is by being willing to put in a good day’s work – whether that’s at home, in your career, or your personal life.
Hard work may not be popular or easy to market, but it truly is the pathway of growth and success.
Dear Jesus, thank You for always loving me just as I am. Help me embrace hard work and understand the profit it brings to my life. Forgive me for being lazy in certain areas of my life. May I work heartily at everything I do, as if I am working to bring Your Name honor.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Would your friends say you are a hard worker?
In what area of your life do you need to be more diligent?
More from the Girlfriends
If you are married, it can be easier to say the words “I love and respect you” than to actually live like you mean that. Working together in a marriage to build a happy home takes effort, diligence and hard work. It doesn’t just happen automatically. Arlene’s book 31 Days to a Happy Husband will show you how to back up your words with actions.
Originally published Friday, 08 March 2019.