In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
It took me a good 6-8 months after graduating college to get this. My story is pretty typical. Graduated (with honors) and started looking for work. But I was only looking for work that was up to my lofty standards and worthy of my skills and ability.
I found none. Not because work wasn’t available but because I was entitled and didn’t live the wisdom taught in this proverb. I was a mere talker. With no money.
I didn’t get that in all labor there profit. A wise person can profit in some way from anything that they are doing. I finally came to my senses and got hired at a restaurant as a food runner. Once I committed to ding my best no matter what I was promoted several times and became an assistant manager. But the whole time, I hated this job. It was truly terrible.
But it was not without profit. I learned how to deal with people and their ridiculous, inane, and rude behavior. If you’ve ever worked in food service you know how terrible people can be. Now that I’m in a career that I love, when someone is rude to me I almost don’t even notice it. If someone’s not screaming in my face, angrily throwing food at me, or holding me up at gunpoint; I don’t notice. ALL of those things happened to me by the way.
It’s easy to be a talker today. The amount of free info available to almost everyone makes it possible for anyone with internet to be an expert talker. I’m glad I figured it out as soon as I did because I still know people who won’t figure it out.
I had to realize that I can profit from just about any work in some way. I want to be an expert doer. Mere talkers live in poverty.
The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is in need.
Here’s one that I’m entirely sure of the precise meaning.
On the one hand, this could be a general observation that righteous people generally have everything they need and the wicked generally do not. Perhaps, it’s indicating that the righteous will always have enough. This seems to be the face value of the proverb
But, I’m not sure that it can mean this. Righteous people die of starvation and for lack of the necessary things for life everyday. Righteous families go hungry every night.
Maybe it means something more along the lines of this:
A righteous person is content no matter what but a wicked person always desires something other than what they have.
Could it be that Solomon is pointing out that part of what it means to be righteous is being content and satisfied with your situation?
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.
I am great at the anxiety part of this. The good word, not so much. But I’m getting better. Something that I have recently realized is that so many people are incredibly anxious and might not hear a good word from anyone all day. I’m trying to become a person who speaks good words to all the people around me. My good words might be the only good words that person hears in a day. It’s sad. But true.
I’ve also realized that when anxiety is weighing my own heart down, some good self talk can be extremely edifying. I think more people have trouble speaking good words to themselves than they do to others.
I think there’s tremendous wisdom in developing the personal habit of positive self talk. God loves His children and thinks they are great. We are the apple of His eye. Only gladness can come from consistently remind ourselves of this truth.
The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.
Something that I tend to forget is that the mercy, kindness, and love I show to others is also good for me. Obviously the primary focus is others. But, it’s important to remember that being merciful to others is good for me too.
It’s not a selfish thing at all to enjoy and desire the benefits of merciful living. One of the great paradoxes of life is that the more selfless you are the better you treat yourself. The best thing for me is to put others first. It’s ironic that putting others first actually benefits me more than putting myself first.
The opposite is true as well. Cruel people not only malign others but the also harm themselves. Someone once said something similar to this:
When you’re throwing dirt you’re just losing ground. And you end up filthy too.
Generally cruely is motivated out of a desire to promote oneself. The irony here is that all this does is cause harm to everyone including the cruel person.
Think of something selfless you did for someone. Maybe you bought a close friend an amazing present. Maybe you volunteered at a shelter. Maybe you sent a heart-felt thank you card.
How good does that make you feel? I know I feel great.
How much better is it when you get to see the gratitude from the person you did something nice for? It’s one of the best feelings imaginable. It’s not at all selfish to fervently desire this for yourself. It’s actually wise, pure, and selfless.
So go ahead. Feel great about yourself when you show mercy or do something selfless. I know it seems weird at first to pat yourself on the back. At least it does for me. But the satisfaction that comes from being a merciful person is something that we should earnestly desire.
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Some synonyms for negligent:
Some synonyms for diligent:
These synonyms make it super clear for even me to see the truth in this proverb. Obviously someone who has the diligent skills will succeed.
Proverbs 9:4; 26
Whoever is simple let him turn in here!
Whoever is simple let him turn in here!
Wisdom and folly both call out to people with the same greeting. Both offer food and drink. But those who respond have very different outcomes.
Respond to wisdom’s call = greater wisdom, knowledge, long life
Respond to folly’s call = death
The call is the same but the results completely opposite. It takes wisdom to choose but those who fear the Lord seem to have a leg up (9:10).
Who’s call will you answer?
The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Do I hate evil? Do you? Those who are wise do. If I’m being honest, I don’t actually hate most evil. Some evil I do hate. Like abortion, rape, child abuse. But most evil I casually dislike.
I dislike pride and arrogance. Sometimes I still use perverted speech so clearly I don’t hate that one. I know that full perfect fear of the Lord and hatred of evil is not possible until I have been fully perfected when Jesus returns and does that for His people. But, I should be better than I am.
I think that part of hating evil on a personal level is the continually purging and killing of it in my life. Consistently choosing good, righteousness, and justice helps with this.
Hating evil on a bigger community level is much more challenging for Christians. Just look around at all the evil God forbids that Christians allow and even embrace. If Christians truly hated evil, abortion would be abolished. Abortion murders babies. Yet, some denominations support it and most don’t do anything to eliminate it. If most Christians truly feared the Lord, homosexuality and transgenderism wouldn’t be supported by so many churches and Christians. Hating evil means no sleeping around with your fellow parishioners. It means no gossiping, lying, or racism.
Here’s a simple math equation for you:
Fearing/respecting God=hating evil.
It’s hard work but if actually know God in a saving way, it’s work that as to be done.