Proverbs Challenge, October 2016 – Day Fourteen


The fourteenth chapter of Proverbs is filled with wise sayings, as are many of the other chapters in Proverbs.  As part of our October, 2016, Proverbs Challenge, I want to use the opportunity today to address something often called our “entitlement society” here in America.  Verse 23 of Proverbs 14 reads “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.  Let’s think together about that for a few minutes.

First, the opening phrase tells us that labor (hard work in some translations) produces profit.  In other words, when you apply the effort to the task a product (profit) results.  This is true in labor for hire situations and it is true when you are carving a statue out of stone.  It is true when you apply yourself in physical training (you sweat and you hurt and it produces an increase in stamina or strength).  So we learn first in this couplet of wisdom that work produces gain.  It’s a basic principle of life.  The lion doesn’t eat until it first applies the work ethic of hunting and killing its prey.  The antelope doesn’t live unless it first applies the work ethic of alertness and rapid flight to escape the lion.  Labor (hard work, oftentimes) produces profit.

Before we look at the second phrase of Proverbs 14:23, let me speak quickly to the conjunction that joins the two phrases: “but”.  That three-letter word essentially alerts us to the fact that what comes next (after the but) has greater significance or is of more importance than what came before.  Just a little thing, but worth remembering (see how the second part “worth remembering” is actually the take away in that?)!

So, on to the more important piece of Proverbs 14:23 – …mere talk leads only to poverty”.  The thing we need to realize as we read this verse is talk does not get the work done.  Human beings are not God.  When God said in the beginning of all things “Let there be light” and light appeared, God demonstrated creative power in His spoken word.  Human beings, on the other hand, can demonstrative positive attitude in our spoken word.  We cannot, however, create just by speaking (unless you consider the output of a dictation software as creating written words from spoken ones).  We can talk about making money or creating a statue from stone as long and as enthusiastically as we can.  It will not bring profit nor will it chisel the stone.  That takes work.

As a church planter and pastor, this verse speaks directly to me (and to those who are working together in our effort to see God’s kingdom grow).  Our words may sound good.  We may have good intent when we speak them.  Yet we are reminded in Proverbs 14:23 that mere words do not get the job done.  That takes work and all work brings a profit (results).  May God help me be a faithful worker in His vineyard!

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~ by brotherfaron on October 14, 2016.

2 Responses to “Proverbs Challenge, October 2016 – Day Fourteen”

  1. Several verses spoke to me from this chapter today, however verse 14 is hitting close to home. I have been praying for several family members lately to turn back to God. This verse tells me that they will have their fill of their own ways. Our pride can only satisfy for the moment. Chasing our desire for satisfaction, entertainment, etc. will fulfill us only temporarily. We will soon tire of packing our souls with everything under the sun.

    Our hearts are sometimes so easily drawn away from God because we have allowed our desires to stray from His desires. We can be like the fish who, while swimming along, sees a shiny, glittering object that seems most interesting. We know the result of that, however. The fish is caught, dragged away to where he does not want to go. The book of James gives us this scenario with regard to OUR desires. They entice us and when we yield to them, death will result. Sometimes the death goes unnoticed for a while. That small separation from God we hardly notice at first. If we do not repent, that separation will grown wider, and we will soon be living life under our own power, making our our decisions, building ourselves up, rather than living as the wise man of Proverbs and allowing God to lead, direct, and exalt in due time.

    • Praying with you for family members who need to return to God. I pray that God will grant You strength in prayer and that you will see the results of continuing to lift wayward souls to the Father and seek His will in drawing them to Himself. He is Faithful and True and we can always trust Him with our needs.

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