Proverb For The Day
Here’s a verse that captured my attention, and I believe is worth repeating. (I even felt it worth committing to memory!) It’s from Proverbs 13:4 (NKJV):
“The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”
2 contrasts are thus seen here: the lazy man versus the diligent one.
The Lazy Man
The lazy man has desire in his soul, but has nothing. He craves. He wants. He has desires.
But he has nothing.
Maybe he’s got some dreams inside that soul of his, and things he’d like to see happen in his life, but those things never happen. Why? Because he’s lazy.
Sometimes I wonder if we, amidst laziness, think we have something while deceiving ourselves at the core. And the reality instead is that in our soul – we have a whole lot of nothingness. We may not even look lazy. We might look like everyone else, doing what is culturally acceptable all around us. But we are not diligent in the ways that will bring birth to our dreams and desires. We may even enjoy much “leisure”, but leisure perhaps yields way to that which could better be described as laziness and we choose to dwell in that place. The end result? Nothing. That man has nothing.
The Diligent Man
The diligent man (or woman) on the other hand will “be made rich” – where? In his bank account? No, that’s not what it says. In his soul. Wow – now that is fodder for thought. What does it mean to be rich in one’s soul? And what if this proverb is, in it’s very terminology, calling us to deeper riches than we’d initially considered and/or sought. What if the amount of one’s poverty and wealth is actually a soul-issue, not a matter of monetary funds?
So this begs another question – if I want soul riches, what kind of life do I need to be living in order to receive them? Obviously not a lazy one. A diligent one. But what kind of diligence is necessary? Busy working and striving? The kind that everyone says will take you to the top?
I’d venture that further meditation might lead us to a different conclusion about the kind of diligence necessary for the reaping of soul riches. Perhaps this diligence is different than the kinds of diligence that would bring material wealth. What if it is calling us to be diligent in deep, mysterious things that will impact the soul? What does that look like?
Having said the above, and prompted to make this simple sentence the subject of extended meditation, a few final questions come to mind.
First, does leisure = wellness? (Sometimes I think we have that perspective, but perhaps it is worth a second thought. Is leisure truly a sign of wellness?) In and of itself, I’m going to argue that is is not (though I do believe there is absolutely a place for rest and recreation!) But in my opinion, wellness is not defined by leisure (which can, in excess, perhaps translate into laziness). Too much leisure could mean too much laziness, if we’re honest.
And secondly, in what ways can we be diligent unto the reaping of soul riches? “Soul riches”…now that sounds like true wellness to me. How do we find that kind of wellness? Beyond worldly wealth, beyond material possessions that may be attained through some level of earthly diligence. In what areas of life could you choose diligence, and thus open to the door to the possibility of being “made rich”?
Optional: Take 3 minutes, close your eyes, and just let that question simmer within you. Ask God to show you what He wants to say to you about this, and see what rises up inside.
One final thought: did you notice the verb tenses that provide an additional contrast in this verse?
Lazy man (present tense) “has” nothing.
Diligent [man] (future tense) “shall be made rich.”
Aha. So diligence might require an investment over time, prior to the yielding of the fruit for which we long. It might not be immediate.
I know for me, I started dietary changes around the fall of 2000, but really took my health problems by the horn, as it were, amidst major flare-ups around 2004. And the final shift out of my “chronically ill” stage, occurred in late 2009 – roughly 5 years later. 5 years of commitment, of diligence, of willingness to try and try and try again, hoping one day it would somehow yield the change I desperately longed for. I never knew it would take so long.
We often want a quick fix, don’t we? (I’m a culprit and can really struggle with waiting!) And if we don’t get the fix when we want it, in our timeframe, we choose laziness. Trouble is, laziness won’t move us forward. It won’t lead us to richness of soul.
Getting the true riches we are seeking is a process requiring diligence, and shall come (future tense) as we choose to be diligent men and women. It might not be today. Or even tomorrow. Or even next year. But our soul shall be made rich if we will be diligent.
Will you choose the way of diligence?
If so, your soul will be made rich.