Ben Fourie 

“Have a nap and sleep if you want to. Fold your hands and rest awhile, but while you are asleep, poverty will attack you like an armed robber.” Proverbs 24:33-34, GNT
When I was a child, the adults loved to use this proverb. On a cold winter’s morning, when the frost laid everywhere like a blanket and you wanted to lie in your warm bed a little longer, this proverb was quoted. Another favourite that has the same message is Proverbs 6:6: “Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live” and what follows. Laziness was not tolerated at all.
If we look at the proverbs that we talked about in this series as well as the many that we did not discuss, one sometimes asks why such a proverb found its way into the Bible. Does it really have anything to do with our faith? Yes, it does. Everything in life has some connection with what we believe and how we believe. My labour or work forms a very important part of my whole being and because of that, it forms an important part of my faith.
To have a job is a great privilege these days, especially if we look at the very high percentage of unemployment. So, being privileged to have a job, I have to go full out, if I read the proverb correctly. There should not be time or place for too much napping, sleeping and folding of hands. We see that there are experiments going on to bring about a working week of only four days. This is the opposite of years ago when most people worked on Saturdays and had a working week of six days.
In our modern society, it seems as if recreation is more important than labour. Some people’s whole lives revolve around the weekend and the holiday, and they see their jobs as a necessary evil. We all know that recreation is very important. “All work and no play does make Jack a dull boy”, but the moment it becomes more important than our daily work, poverty will come to us like an armed robber. This will not only be material poverty, but we will be poor in so many aspects of being human and also poor in our soul. Poverty of the soul also touches my faith and my relationship with God. Labour is, after all, a commission from God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for good health and strength with which I am able to do my job every day. Amen