At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: But the substance of a diligent man is precious (KJV).
The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession (NKJV).Proverbs 12:27
Proverbs about laziness can be pretty colorful. We have one about the time it was raining porridge, and one poor fellow had forgotten to bring his bowl. Or you could be as lazy as Ludlum’s dog, who had to lean his head against the wall to bark.
This ancient Hebrew proverb captures much the same idea. The lazy man might be prevailed upon to go hunting, but if he manages to catch his food, he is too lazy to feed himself with it. Cooking looks suspiciously like work, and there is always the clean up afterwards.
The contrast here is to the industrious man. His diligence is his precious possession, which is the central reason why he has any other possessions. To be the owner of diligence is to own a number of other fine things as a consequence. This relates to another proverb I once saw on a poster in a business that is renowned in our area for its industry—“everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”
The indigent often wonder (complainingly) about how some people seem to get “all the breaks.” Now sometimes there really is a lucky break, and the ball bounces just right. But Scripture teaches us that diligence messes with these averages.
We need to remind ourselves that these are proverbs, meaning that they are not universally true, the way an axiom in geometry is universally true. Parallel lines do not meet, and this is not generally true. It is simply true. But there are times when layabouts win at Powerball, and there are other times when men are as hardworking as they come, and they still struggle to make ends meet. That said, proverbs are generally true, and diligence really is a prize possession.