Poverty is never pretty. Every pastor and politician claims to be at the forefront of the battle to end poverty. But how often do our leaders tell us that some people are responsible for their own lack of financial stability? I’ll answer that. Not very often. It is not the kind of message that has people jumping up and down in the pews. However, Proverbs 6:9-11 (NIV) makes it clear that financial and spiritual poverty can pounce on us when we embrace slothfulness: “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed bandit.”
Since that day in the Garden of Eden, humans have had to work for their nourishment. As I child, I remember reading about the curse of labor put upon mankind after Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge and I settled into the reality of what my future held for me; if I wanted to eat, I would work. If I was to raise a family, I would work. If I wanted to be successful at anything, I would work. Now don’t get me wrong; I have compassion for people in need. I understand droughts in financial and spiritual soundness come and go. But we all know people who do not place hard work and fiscal responsibility at the top of their priority lists. They go through life blaming governments, companies, and other humans for their lack of provisions, sometimes failing to look in the mirror when examining excuses for their predicaments.
When I find myself in hard economic times, I look first to my own actions, my own shortfalls, and my own ignorance. That is usually as far as I have to search. Next, I go to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to give me the direction and strength to do what needs to be done in order to get things back on track. When I am spiritually strong, I can find the power to work hard and spend wisely. The further I stray from God’s Word, the more difficult it is for me to understand why labor is necessary and good. Christians should work hard in order to glorify God. We should rest after a hard day’s work; rejecting laziness as an acceptable trait.
I highly recommend reading Proverbs, Chapter 6 in its entirety once a month, just to be reminded of how God views laziness. A strong work ethic is the best defense against the assault of financial poverty. A strong spirit is the only solution to overcoming the obstacles that face all of us on a daily basis. Where is your behavior taking you?