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Life Lessons

The Rewards of Hard Work

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One Friday a young man named Herb, who was attending Stanford University, applied for employment at a company and was told that the only job available was that of a secretary. The young man enthusiastically accepted the position, but informed the employer that he couldn't start until Wednesday.

When he showed up Wednesday morning the employer asked Herb why he waited until Wednesday to start. Herbert Hoover, a future president of the United States replied, “I had to find a typewriter and learn how to use it.” (Yes, this happened before the age of computers.)

Herbert Hoover once said, “No difficult or simple job ever gets done until someone decides right now to do what it takes to get the job done. Unfortunately, too many people stand by ready to carry the stool when there is a piano to be moved.”

The book of Proverbs is filled with instructions that tell us that working hard and doing a job well will lead to rewards while laziness reaps sorrow and poverty. Translators used two words: “sloth” and “sluggard” in creating the English Bible. Both words mean slow-moving and lazy.

Points to build on

Hard work produces wealth while laziness leads to poverty.

Proverbs 10:4-5 Proverbs 10:4-5 4 He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich. 5 He that gathers in summer is a wise son: but he that sleeps in harvest is a son that causes shame.
American King James Version×
: “He who deals with a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes one rich.  He who gathers in summer is a wise son, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”

Proverbs 12:27 Proverbs 12:27The slothful man roasts not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
American King James Version×
: “The slothful man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man's precious possession.”

Proverbs 13:4 Proverbs 13:4The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
American King James Version×
: “The soul of a sluggard desires, and has nothing, But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”

Proverbs 24:30-34 Proverbs 24:30-34 30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, see, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. 32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked on it, and received instruction. 33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall your poverty come as one that travels; and your want as an armed man.
American King James Version×
: “I went by the field of the slothful, And by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; It's surface was covered with nettles; It's stone wall was broken down.  When I saw it I considered it well, I looked on it and received instruction:  A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; So your poverty will come like a prowler, And your want like an armed man.”

A lazy person is a curse to his or her employer and won't be able to keep a job.

Proverbs 10:26 Proverbs 10:26As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
American King James Version×
: “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the sluggard to those who send him.”

A person who only wants to have fun all the time will end up in poverty.

Proverbs 12:11 Proverbs 12:11He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that follows vain persons is void of understanding.
American King James Version×
: “He who tills the land will be satisfied with bread, But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.”

Proverbs 21:17 Proverbs 21:17He that loves pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loves wine and oil shall not be rich.
American King James Version×
: “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.”

A person who talks all the time instead of working will end up in poverty.

Proverbs 14:23 Proverbs 14:23In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tends only to penury.
American King James Version×
: “In labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty.”

Laziness leads to a restricted life without opportunities.

Proverbs 15:19 Proverbs 15:19The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
American King James Version×
: “The way of a slothful man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway.”

Proverbs 18:9 Proverbs 18:9He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
American King James Version×
: “He who is slothful in his work is the brother of him who is a great destroyer.”

Proverbs 19:15 Proverbs 19:15Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
American King James Version×
: “Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger.”

Proverbs 19:24 Proverbs 19:24A slothful man hides his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
American King James Version×
: “A slothful man buries his hand in the bowl, And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.”

Proverbs 20:4 Proverbs 20:4The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
American King James Version×
: “The sluggard will not plow because of winter; Therfore he will beg during the harvest and have nothing.”

Proverbs 20:13 Proverbs 20:13Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you shall be satisfied with bread.
American King James Version×
: “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.”

A hard worker plans for the future, while a lazy person schemes ways to get rich quickly.

Proverbs 21:5 Proverbs 21:5The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
American King James Version×
: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

A hard worker will be generous, while a lazy person will be filled with unhappy desires for what others possess.

Proverbs 21:25-26 Proverbs 21:25-26 25 The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labor. 26 He covets greedily all the day long: but the righteous gives and spares not.
American King James Version×
: “The desire of the slothful kills him, For his hands refuse to labor.  He covets greedily all day long, But the righteous gives and does not spare.”

A lazy person always makes excuses.

Proverbs 22:13 Proverbs 22:13The slothful man said, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
American King James Version×
: “The slothful man says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the street.'”


All success in life takes preparation, work and sacrifice.  Unfortunately, many times we want the rewards without the effort.

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  • vielgervise

    Another Life Lessons to learn with… Thank you so much Mr. Petty. :)

  • Andlu Macar

    Yes sir, Mr. Petty!
    I have always liked your ability to express things in simple,yet impacting ways.

    Thank YOU, again!

    afa, Luis [ aka, Nick ] :)

  • chrissy_65
    although there are times i wonder about that.. i have worked hard all my life i had raised my girls all„don’t even get support for one of my kids,so there were of times I had to work two jobs and i am still poor. i am always struggling„ why? never ask to b rich„ just able to pay the bills and buy food. can’t even buy health ins.. so y is God having me struggle so much?
  • United Church of God
    Hello Chrissy, It sounds like you are examining circumstances in your life and it looks like there has been some difficult times. You expressed the question, “why does God have me struggle so much?” We know that God is merciful and caring. He also blesses those who serve Him. Often we are not in obedience to God, even though we want to be. You see, one must know what God expects and then we earnestly strive to put these expectations into actions. Sometimes it is difficult to assess a situation, so we assume the best and try to point out the clear instruction that comes to us from God’s Word, the Bible. We have been reared in a world that claims to believe in God and yet we have the most violent population and the many thousands of folks in your situation and not knowing why. I would like to suggest you go through our website,, and avail yourself of the many booklets and articles that can be requested or downloaded while also clicking on the Beyond Today broadcast and viewing the subjects that our presenters expound. For now I’m going to suggest requesting several booklets to help you get started. The first is a timely booklet, “Why Does God Allow Suffering?” The second is “What is your Destiny?” and the third is “How to understand the Bible.” Again, these can be viewed and requested from our website mentioned above. Thank you again for your comment and hopefully this will be the beginning of a new vision and hope for the future.

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