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The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!”
As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
– Proverbs 26:13-16

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
Proverbs 14:23

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
Proverbs 13:4


Every time I see children sitting behind their own lemonade stand, I stop my car, get out, and go buy a glass of their lemonade. Their choice to earn money is a value I want to reward.  I always ask what they’re going to do with the money and I wish them the best in their efforts to earn money. I never had a lemonade stand when I was a kid, but I worked for the goals I wanted to achieve.  I practiced musical instruments to be in all city orchestras, state bands, and for scholarships, and I studied for academic honors, even worked evenings at a burger stand to earn college tuition.

Proverbs is a book about probabilities and rewards for working is one of them. Several times it mentions examples of the benefits of working diligently.  Solomon describes reaping what you sow (Proverbs 11:18), patiently waiting for the fruit of your work (Proverbs 12:14), and the cause and effect principle of effort and reward (Proverbs 27:18). The Proverbs also include exaggerated and humorous word pictures about disregarding work. Solomon compares making excuses with saying things like “there’s a lion in the street” (Proverbs 26:13), laziness with “turning in your sleep like a door on its hinges” (Proverbs 26:14), and prideful delusion with “the sluggard seeing himself as wise” (Proverbs 26:12). Solomon’s many warnings to the sluggard are a call to action, to work hard, and to honor God with their lives.

Excuses are easy to make and doing the difficult is hard. It’s easier to talk and make excuses for not working, than to do the actual work.  It’s also easier to complain and grumble about work, which probably takes more energy than actually working. In these verses from the Apostle Paul, the word “all” becomes significant. Paul says, “Do all things without grumbling and disputing” (Philippians 2:14). “Do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). “Let all things be done for building up” (1 Corinthians 14:26b). The wisdom of Solomon’s proverbs also give encouragement in the battle to do what’s responsible. Solomon says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established“ (Proverbs 16:3).  “Do you see a man skillful in his work?  He will stand before kings “(Proverbs 22:29).  Vocation and Christian character take work. We’re called to bear the image of God faithfully by our life and work, our being and doing, our walk and our talk. Commit to being Christlike and doing your best wherever God has placed you.


Today, write your own version of the serenity prayer
dedicating yourself to executing not giving way to excuses in your work and walk with Jesus.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

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By Donna Burns  

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