Daily Wisdom 190: Proverbs 10:4

Proverbs 10:4 (NKJV) — 4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Poverty and riches. The “slack hand” speaks of an open, ineffective hand or palm. The slack hand neglects to maintain what it presently has, both physically and spiritually. (See Proverbs 24:30-34.) A slack hand is wasteful. Valuable things that are often wasted include (1) time (our most precious asset); (2) resources; (3) energy (on worthless pursuits); (4) money. Those with a slack hand get too much sleep, which is as bad as too little (Proverbs 19:15). They use imagined excuses to justify their lack of effort (Proverbs 22:13). They will say, “There’s no need to try.” Those with a slack hand make signs of activity, but they never get anywhere (Proverbs 26:14). They neglect things that obviously need doing (Ecclesiastes 10:18). They will not use what they have. They reason that if they had as much as someone else they would do something, but since they have only a little, they will do nothing (Matthew 25:24-25). Dealing with a slack hand will bring people to poverty, regardless of how much they begin with.

The “hand of the diligent” speaks of a hand that is braced for work. The diligent hand is the opposite of the slack hand. Diligent persons will do what is necessary to maintain their present position, both spiritually and physically, and to improve their lot. They are not wasteful. They conserve time, resources, energy, and money. They neither sleep too much nor too little. They do not use excuses to justify a lack of effort. Their activity is purposeful and will accomplish results. They will do the things that need doing. They will use what they have, not worrying about others who have more.