Life Lessons: The Rewards of Hard Work


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: "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: "The slothful man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession."

Proverbs 13:4: "The soul of a sluggard desires, and has nothing, But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."

Proverbs 24:30-34: "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: "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: "He who tills the land will be satisfied with bread, But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding."

Proverbs 21:17: "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: "In labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty."

Laziness leads to a restricted life without opportunities.

Proverbs 15:19: "The way of a slothful man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway."

Proverbs 18:9: "He who is slothful in his work is the brother of him who is a great destroyer."

Proverbs 19:15: "Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger."

Proverbs 19:24: "A slothful man buries his hand in the bowl, And will not so much as bring it to his mouth again."

Proverbs 20:4: "The sluggard will not plow because of winter; Therfore he will beg during the harvest and have nothing."

Proverbs 20:13"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: "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: "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: "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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