5 Problems with Misunderstanding the Work-Eat Relationship

The person who labors, labors for himself, for his hungry mouth drives him on,” Pr. 16:26 NKJV

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God has intricately connected two basic concepts: working and eating. We know that when God sets up a principle, the enemy sets up a perversion. Most perversions are insidious. The one on today’s lesson walks up and brazenly flips the principle upside down, saying, you don’t have to work at all to eat. A few problems arise from this mindset.

  1. It impedes everyday life and development. Employers in my region are in a quandary. As an indirect result of Covid-19, they can’t find people interested in work. Many employees are happily sitting at home enjoying government-issued relief checks that surpass what they earn. Why on earth would they want to go to work? According to the Cambridge Bible for Schools and colleges, “The desire which craves satisfaction [hunger] is the motive power, impelling to the labour by which it is satisfied.”
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“All a man’s labor is for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied,” Ecc. 6:7. This is the spring that propels our industry. If we want the fire of labor, we must stoke it with hunger (the appetite.) That is how God set up the system. Otherwise, the spring loses its bounce and therefore its purpose.

2. Habitual rescuing is dangerous and bottomless. There is certainly a time and place for people to be rescued. Unfortunately, habitual rescuing without consequences lays solid groundwork for dysfunctional enabling. “A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again,” Pr 19:19. Though that great verse speaks of an anger problem, the principle translates beautifully to all manner of vices including our study today which is about promoting laziness. Constant rescuing is not sustainable and places an unfair and back-breaking burden on someone else.×523/public/images/2018-11/110518-slug-1280×720.jpg?h=c673cd1c&itok=OzX4zZPZ

Pr. 6:6-8, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Each person needs to pull his own weight as they are able. Every chance we get, we need to teach children the value of work and contribution. We have to raise the bar for them. We must challenge adults to work. Otherwise the bible calls them a sluggard – the root word for which is a slug!

3. Laziness is deceptive. Pr. 26:16, “A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly.”

We have studied numerous lessons in Proverbs addressed to the sluggard. It seems that Solomon cannot say enough about how despicable it is. The sluggard presents an interesting conundrum. Despite his laziness, he sees himself to be very wise indeed. He thinks he has things figured out and behaves accordingly. He holds himself in incredibly high esteem. While his body moves toward productivity like old molasses on a winter morning, his mouth revs like a Ferrari. He is even likely to proudly compare himself to others around him. He rates himself in the brilliance category. Again, his esteem of others and his attitude towards work is all wrong. That is because the sluggard is also a fool – despite his giftedness and smarts.

4. The French say that he who wants bread thinks of everything. An empty belly fuels one to figure out how to fill it. It is amazing to see how creative people can get in an effort to meet their needs. A full belly sustains the body and is necessary for life and thought. There has to be the cycle between filling and emptying of the belly. If you’re always full, you don’t experience the drive necessary to spur invention and creativity. There is no need for it if all your needs are met. Necessity is the mother of invention.

“The belly is the teacher of all arts, the parent of invention.”

Latin Proverb

5. Most importantly, it flies in the face of scripture. Paul said, “We commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat,” 2 Thessalonians 3:10. I guarantee you that there are a lot more people eating than there are working. I’m speaking to able believers of Jesus. Get off your rump and work. Quit with the long list of excuses. Your human dignity is derived from your work whether the work is grand or menial. The matter of work is the essence of who you are. Work is not a curse, it is a rich blessing. Your work and the way you do it is an act of worship. It reflects your relationship with God and what you think of him. Allow your hungry mouth to drive you farther than the fridge

The person who labors, labors for himself, for his hungry mouth drives him on,” Pr. 16:26 NKJV


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