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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

October 12, 2023

The Bible Edge

Practical Points to Ponder from Proverbs

Proverbs 10:4

He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

How can today’s verse and I Samuel 2:7 be reconciled? After all today’s verse indicates that becoming rich is a matter of being diligent, whereas in I Samuel it is written, The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich... On one hand the LORD makes individuals rich and on the other becoming rich is up to the individual. How can both be true? Easily!

Within God’s Word there are probably hundreds of seemingly contradictory statements like the one highlighted here today. but they are not contradictory. They both are equally true, but both must be understood by their viewpoint. The verse in Proverbs is seen from the perspective of humans. The one in I Samuel is seen from the perspective of the Lord God and those who trust in Him. Look at it like this.

God has established certain unalterable laws that if obeyed will give certain results. However, it is up to individuals to obey those laws. God’s law is that by being diligent in business one can become rich. If one is not diligent, they cannot expect God to make them rich. If just by being one is made rich, what is the motivation to work, create, or produce? All of these have benefits far beyond simple richness. These characteristics keep us sharp, physically fit, and give us a sense of purpose and belonging. Having a slack hand brings poverty as sure as being diligent brings riches.

Wait a minute preacher! There are many who are busy, work hard, and never become rich. How do you explain that? Easy. There is a difference between diligence and busyness. One can be busy and not be diligent, but one cannot be diligent without being busy. Diligence not only does the job but also understands the job, the tools, the purpose; everything about the job and the products. Think about a salesperson on a car lot. All can probably tell you about the sticker price, but how many can truly tell you about the vehicle? Let’s say you need a truck that will pull a 12,000 lb. trailer (which is a common weight range for many travel trailers). Stop at any dealership and ask a sales person, “What is the towing capacity of this vehicle?” Most will not know, and many will have a difficult time finding out. They know the color of the truck, the cost, and maybe its engine, but do they know the features, all the features? Having purchased more than a few vehicles over the years, it is immediately possible to spot a diligent sales professional versus one that has a slack hand.

Getting back to the matter at hand. God sets forth, for all to read, how He makes rich, which is through being diligent. One point of view from God and one point of view from humans. We see diligent folks become rich. Why? Because God designed life that way. Many pretend to be diligent, but really they deal with a slack hand.

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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