I read a chapter in Proverbs most every day corresponding to the day of the month. I've been doing this for quite a while an have failed to exhaust all the insights that pop out of the page, grab me around the neck and shake the living daylights out of me.
Solomon was a successful leader who was not impressed with his own success. All he really ever wanted to be was wise. He authored or collected these sayings and they still ring true with such piercing relevance that they seem like they could have been written yesterday.
I do most of my reading and reflecting from the New International Version (c) 2002, International Bible Society.
This one grabbed me today:
13:4 - "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied."
So what is the difference between the desire of a dilligent person and the craving of a lazy person?
From the start, we nod our heads knowingly, acknowledging that this proverb is true. A craving is a carnal drive that overwhelms our judgment and woos us into reckless thinking and action.
C is for carnal because this drive is fleshly through and through. There is not accounting for satisfaction which transcends momentary instant gratification. Carnal cravings sabotage long-term goals which require delayed gratification. The desires of the diligent are long-term desires. The antidote to unbridled Carnality is Captitol. I'll need to explain this more later, but the successful and diligent business person is not trying to satisfy the momentary cravings of the flesh, but is attempting to accumulate intellectual, spiritual, and economic capitol to build a dream over the years.
R is for reckless because we will do anything to get what we crave if we are driven by our cravings. We will make bad decisions and sloppy choices. The sluggard's true desires cannot be satisfied because he does not make the kind of choices that move him steadily toward his goals. He has bursts of energy, but no tolerance or stamina for the long haul. He is recklessly lazy. He's work hard for a moment, but refuses to pace himself for a lengthy journey. Recklessness must give way to Responsibility.
A is for absorbed in self. Nothing outside of self matters, ones own desires, ones own needs, and ones own irritations and pain. You see the same sort of thing in 21:10 -. "The wicked man craves evil. His neighbor gets no mercy from him." He is too driven by self-absorbed cravings to have empathy and compassion for anyone else. Absorption is self must give way to natural Affect, as in the capacity to be touched in the heart and moved by the heart's response to another's pain and emotion.
V is for vindictive. When mercy is lacking, one keeps score of wrongs and a new craving emerges, an irrational desire for revenge and retribution even if it means sinking ones own ship. Instead of being driven by Vindictiveness, we need to be driven by Values.
E is for evil. Define it as you will. Some will argue that there is no evil in the world. That seems to defy any honest study of history or human behavior. All of us have areas of our lives where we are drawn to darkness because there are some things that appeal to us that are not good for us or for others. It is when we give into these cravings that evil begins to creep into our hearts. We loosen our standards and suspend our ethics and before you know it, we have an Enron-sized debacle. compressed into our own lives. We must replace Evil with sound Ethics if we are going to reach our long term business goals.
S is for selfish. "I want it all for me." "It's all about me." The sluggard cannot weigh the larger issues of what is good for the community or the team. Such an individual will cash out as soon as he or she has been immediately gratified. This person is not even concerned about the self she will be in ten years - only the self right now. He makes no provision for his future. She takes no thought of leaving a legacy. He makes no effort to contribute to society. As a result, he gets nothing - at least nothing of value or substance. Selfishness must be replaces by Selflessness. The diligent know that no person succeeds alone and gives time and energy to helping other people succeed, even if it is personally costly (and it always is - but it is also, always personally rewarding.) The outward focus yields inward rewards.
The desires of the diligent are focused on long term goals and dreams. The cravings of the sluggard are momentary and fading fast. Diligent people sacrifice a great deal for long term success, but lazy people sacrifice everything for instant gratification.
Well, that's what hit me between the eyeballs today. Perhaps together we can make something of it.
I found this at TheFathersHouse Online.org:
"Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the daydreamer desires, and has nothing to show for it: but the soul of the one who is perfecting their business shall be made fat.
In other words, if it is worth dreaming about then it is worth working."
Very insightful and impressive. I love the translation and application.
And a Prayer Application
This from novelist, Janet Rubin:
Please help me to be diligent to exercise this gift. Give me a vision of what I will be in the future if I work hard. Thank You for all You are teaching me on the way.