Slacking Off?

Proverbs 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.

As I walk the path of wisdom I find this verse very troubling and confusing.  Why is someone who is slack or weak in work habits a “brother” to him who destroys? The slacker is still working right?  Just not as hard as before.  A destroyer is doing the opposite.  I don’t get it.

Maybe I don’t understand the word “slack”?  My understanding was that “slack” means to slow down a little.  We all will slow down in our work once and a while. We can’t all work at 100% all day long – can we?  I know at the end of my day my energy levels are often so low I get very little done.

So I turn to the dictionary for some help.  Here are some dictionary definitions of “slack”:

–       Lacking in activity

–       Sluggish

–       Lacking in diligence

–       Lacking in due care or concern

–       Flowing or blowing with little speed

So if your car is performing with slackness it’s running with little activity or with little speed.  In a vehicle this certainly would be useless. It is especially useless, if you must get to work on time.

So if we work with slackness we are not dependable in God’s eyes.  We are sluggish, lacking in diligence, lacking in concern and flowing with little speed.  Put enough employees like this together and it will destroy any business.

So ordinarily one can slide with some slack work habits, but to work by the principles in Proverbs – Our Path to Wisdom – we are playing on a whole new level.  No room for slackness, no letting up, no slowing down, we must be moving forward every hour of every day.

Jump to the Proverbs 31 woman for example.  She “gets up while it is still dark . . . and her lamp does not go out at night.” Wow – that’s a work ethic. If we intend to work by the standards set down in Proverbs we will soon find ourselves among the best in whatever we choose to do.  Go for it!

Fist Pump!

Fist Pump!

Street Smarts

Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech – Proverbs 1:20 

Man Down

Man Down on the Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack was a regular derelict along Broad Street in Newark. Everyone who worked in the area knew him and his antics – especially after he drank too much.  This morning he was down on the sidewalk,  face down in the grime.  Workers hustling to work stepped around him giving him a quick glance, a knowing shake of the head as if to say, “drunk again”.

We watched from our office window and discussed what we saw.  Could he be actually injured?  Or hurt?  No, he was probably just passed out.  We were uncomfortable at the sight of him but did nothing.

Suddenly a passer-by stops in front of Jack, then gets down and tries to wake him.  “Are you okay, are you okay?” he says.  Jack gradually begins to come too.  The stranger asks if he needs an ambulance.  Jack groggily shakes his head.  He was, after all, just passed out.  Once the stranger determines that Jack was okay he was back on his way.

This was something I had not seen before. A stranger taking time to make sure a derelict was okay?

I felt ashamed.  Why didn’t I take action or try to help? Why didn’t I do anything? I felt so envious of the compassion and courage that was shown by that stranger on the street.

You can find knowledge in a book but the voice of wisdom calls to you out on the streets. The voice of wisdom is calling.  Listen, observe, what’s going on around you?

Wisdom spoke to my heart that day, loud and clear.  “Don, you need to get involved, make a difference, reach out!”

Today’s Action – Wherever your path takes you today.  Listen, observe, and pay attention.  Open your eyes and your heart. Wisdom is calling out.

Lessons from the Ant

Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

I blew it again!  I missed that lesson in wisdom that was right in front of my eyes.

So the dry hot summer is here and with it an invasion of ants that keep appearing on our kitchen counter.  I have been engaged with chemicals and other household cleaners to keep them out of the house in an ongoing battle with the persistent pests.

Then I read my Proverbs.

While I’m trying to destroy the insects,  the wisest man who walked the earth is studying and learning from the little creatures.  Once again I realize that wisdom is all around me if I just open my eyes to see.

Child Watching Ants

Child Watching Ants

 

So I call a truce to consider some lessons we can learn from the lowly ant. For the little ant is an amazing worker and can provide some wonderful lessons to all of us.

 

As annoying as ants are we can learn from them the following lessons:

 

  1. Work without supervision.  Get up! Get moving! Produce your best work without anyone having to give you a nudge.
  2. When work is available take full advantage of it. Use the “harvest times” in  life when you are at peak earning ability to save for the “winters” in life. Are you able to put in overtime this week?  Go for it!
  3. Save don’t consume. As you earn more don’t spend more but strive to save more. This is a tremendous struggle as we are bombarded with advertising every day screaming more, more, more.
  4. The Lean Times – When is the harvest over?  When will your productive years be come to an end?  Make sure you have prepared enough to take you through times of illness and retirement.  Set a goal – a Big Goal and work towards it!
  5. Don’t quit don’t let up.  Persistence always is rewarded.

Okay – truce over.  Out of my house you little pests!

Pursuing Wealth?

Proverbs 23:4-5  Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.  Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Losing Money

Money Disappearing

What does the Bible say about wealth?  On one hand Jesus told his disciples to sell what they had and to follow him.  On the other hand many great men and women of the Bible were obviously very wealthy.  And Jesus did not condemn wealth when properly used.

I think this passage in Proverbs holds the all-important key.

 

If you make it your purpose to get rich, if you seek money and wealth you will fail in your pursuit.  However, if you seek to benefit others, to honor the Lord, to serve others, to produce, to build, to create, money will be one benefit of such a life.

Money is not an end, it is a by-product. In the book of Proverbs it is listed as a by-product of the following:

“Following my commands” ~ Proverbs 3:2

“Honoring God with your wealth”~ Proverbs 3:9

“Honor God with your firstfruits” ~ Proverbs 3:9

“Finding wisdom and understanding”~ Proverbs 3:14-16

There are many more passages in Proverbs to demonstrate this.

So My Path to Wisdom is not one of seeking money – but of seeking understanding, wisdom and knowledge.

As a longtime fan of success literature I find once again that Proverbs does not line up with “Law of Attraction” literature. Many of these books teach that if you really want wealth you must think and focus on it.

Compare the Proverb with the following quote:

“The Law of Attraction states that whatever you focus on, think about, read about, and talk about intensely, you’re going to attract more of into your life.”      – Jack Canfield

Quite a contrast between the two teachings!  Which path will you take?