The Contrast of Dililgence and Laziness and How It Relates to Wisdom and Folly.
Submitted By onlyonealpa
Essay 3 Whether an individual is a follower of Christ or an Atheist, the knowledge and wisdom of the Bible can be applied to his or her struggles and successes. In the Scriptures we can find unadorned distinctions between wisdom and folly and how they relate to an individual’s personal relationship with the Lord. Proverbs tells us that the wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, but the foolishness of the fools is deceit (Proverbs 14:8). There are several stories that illustrate the benefits of seeking out the Lord with diligence and wholeheartedness, Job is a good example. In regards to one’s work ethic, the Bible tells us “that poor is the one who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent is rich” (Proverbs 10:4). Hebrew wisdom also details the end result of idleness and senselessness. The author in Proverbs states that “the soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat” (Proverbs 13:4). Nevertheless, one should not equate wisdom and diligence to earthly riches, for fear and persistence in searching God are the only riches that shall endure. It is a common saying that if you work hard you can achieve success. Diligence in one’s work habits can reap great rewards. Laziness, on the other hand, can lead to financial despondency. The book of Proverbs is full of Scripture on diligence and laziness. Proverbs uses several forms of parallelism to “express the idea that lifestyle choices have consequences, but they express that idea by using contrasting terms and opposite perspectives” (Hindson Ch. 21). For instance many of the analogies made in Proverbs reference eating and feasting, such as, “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious” (Proverbs 12:27). Another example is, “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing” (Proverbs 20:4). The general theme between the two is that the diligent will reap the benefits of his or her labors and the slothful shall hunger and perish. If one were to examine the scriptures figuratively, the conclusion might be drawn that the feasting in regards to diligence could reference the supper of the Lamb noted in the book of Revelations, which states, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (revelations 19:9). There are many scriptures referencing this same manner of feasting and eating in regards to salvation. The book of Isaiah states the following, “The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine” (Isaiah 25:6). Similarly, Jesus explains to his disciples that in the resurrection, “many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). This perspective relates to the previous statement that diligence and wisdom should be related to one’s relationship with the Lord. In his study Hindson states the following, “the book of Proverbs continually presents a sharp contrast between the life of wisdom and the life of folly. However, this contrast has little to do with book knowledge or ‘street smarts’ but rather a person's orientation to God. Thus the contrast between wisdom and folly is often a contrast between righteousness and wickedness” (Hindson Ch.24).
It is hard to imagine an individual that sleeps all throughout the day being highly successful in life, but yet there are many that can attest to the contrary. There are also individuals whom have worked very hard their entire lives and have absolutely nothing to show for it. Though diligence is a good virtue, it alone cannot guarantee prosperity and success. It is written, “For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors” (Ecclesiastes 7:12). As believers in the Word, we must understand that diligence without wisdom is folly. The Bible defines wisdom as fear of the Lord (Job 28:28). Therefore, the one who is diligent in seeking the Lord will guarantee their eternal prosperity and feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The book of Job gives us an example of wisdom working in tandem with diligence. This story recounts the suffering of a righteous man and “deals with some of life's most important philosophical questions. How can an all-powerful God allow the righteous to suffer” (Hindson Ch. 22)? At the hand of the evil one, Job lost a great amount of wealth and all of his children. Nonetheless, Job was diligent in seeking the Lord; day after day Job sat in sackcloth and ash trying to discern the meaning of his great loss and affliction. Though his reasoning and that of his friend’s were fruitless and resulted in a rebuke from the Lord, Job never cursed God for his affliction but sought him out diligently. The book of Hebrews tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, and that he rewards those who diligently search for him (Hebrews 11:6). Job’s diligence in seeking out the Lord was rewarded with double that of what he had lost and another 10 children.
There should be no question in the believer’s mind that the Bible advocates diligence and hard work. However, what the believer should grasp from the Scriptures is that fear of the Lord, which is wisdom, is the ultimate motivation of being diligent. One can be hardworking, but that doesn’t guarantee that person’s success and, likewise, one can be indolent and reap tremendous wealth. Nonetheless, everyone comes into this world with nothing and will leave this world with nothing (Ecclesiastes 5:15). So, it is the fear of the Lord and diligence in seeking and following him that ensures true prosperity, which is salvation. The two are synonymous. Therefore, one can conclude that folly and laziness are one and of the same as well. The individual who does not fear the Lord will not enter into eternal life. Regardless of how diligent an individual was in life, their wealth will not enter into death with them, so their diligence was wasted. For the individuals who fear the Lord, but is not diligent in their seeking, will be saved but will have little reward (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). So above all, wisdom is the most important, because without wisdom we are lost and diligence is meaningless. The foolish and slothful will not enter into life eternal. The greatest commandment that God has given us is to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all of our mind” (Luke 10:27). This commandment illustrates true diligence. To be wise is to fear the Lord, and to love him in all diligence is what assures true prosperity. The ungodly do not seek after the Lord. The unwise are not fervent in trying to decipher the ways of God. Therefore, those without fear for the Lord are folly, and the folly cannot truly prosper from diligence.
Word Count 1192 Works Cited
Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References) (Kindle Locations 191185-191189, 216947, 117936, 231182, 118005, 176573, 123533, 2383413, 111518, 111626). Good News Publishers.
Hindson, Edward E., and Gary E. Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey.
Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012. Web.