“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.” – Proverbs 10:4-5
Back in 2011, a Nielsen report discovered that the average U.S. citizen spends approximately 34 hours a week watching TV. Seeing as the standard workweek is only 40 hours and a good night’s sleep averages around 8 hours a night—recommended of course—I think some simple mathematics can paint an appropriate picture.
So, work hours (40) + sleeping hours (56) + TV hours (34) = 130. Subtract this from the total hours in a week (168) and we end up with 30 hours a week—4 hours a day—for anything else. As a Christian, this should give us pause at how we are spending (wasting) our lives.
We just sit, idly watching our lives go by, having nothing to contribute to the Kingdom of God. Spoiler alert: neither you nor God will be pleased with the “series” finale.
John Barrett, author, missionary, and certified coach with Dr. John Maxwell said that “poverty is not a number, but rather a mindset.” A “slack hand causes poverty” is a principle or philosophy that laziness will leave a person spiritually inept.
On the contrary, “the hand of the diligent makes rich.” A Christian that intentionally strives after God and participates in the things relevant to the Kingdom is rich in heart. He impacts others, influences others, and leads others to Christ, rather than robs them of potential joy.
Proverbs 10:5 reiterates the idea that “idle hands are the devil’s playground.” This isn’t scripture, but it does convey a biblical principle. Wasting away the real life that God has given us for the sake of the fake lives we watch 34 hours a week is “sleeping through the harvest.”
Do something. Be someone. Follow Christ and be a disciple! Make much of your summer, although it’s coming to an end, and be prudent with the gospel that God has entrusted to you. If you’re someone that is consumed with the influx of streaming content that is available at your fingertips, try to be intentional with how you spend your time.
In Genesis 2:15 ” The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” God intended for his creation to work hard and be proud of his daily efforts.
King David said, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Psalm 14:23). Do you spend your time commenting and criticizing how other followers of Christ live their lives? Do you sit by twiddling your thumbs waiting for other Christians to stumble so you can feel better about yourself?
It doesn’t have to be this way. When you arrive in heaven and have to give an account for the works that your hands have done, will you be ashamed? When you and Jesus “binge-watch” your life, will he want to experience it all over again, or will he be disappointed with the ending?