Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Proverbs 10:4 NIV

Every Saturday morning a man bought a lottery ticket. He would climb to the same spot on a nearby mountain to check if he won.

On this Saturday morning, he’d lost again.

Exasperated, the man asked aloud, “God, what’s a million years to you?”

God replied, “It’s as a minute.”

Surprised at the immediate response, the man grew bolder, a scheme forming in his mind.

“God, what’s a million dollars to you?”

God replied, “It’s as a penny.”

He dropped his losing lottery ticket and rubbed his hands together…

“God, can I have a penny?”

God replied, “Yes, in a minute.”

The man shrugged and decided it was time to go back to work!

That story has always made me laugh, and is a funny illustration of the value of hard work.

Today’s Proverb definitely warns against laziness. But at certain times in my life I’ve sacrificed working smart for working hard. So whatever task was in front of me, I thought I was supposed to do it with everything in me.

However, if we’re truly diligent, we will not only work hard and persist through challenges, but we will think critically, and make sure we’re working on the right things.

When you dig into the nerdy history of the English word diligent, you learn it comes from the Latin dislegere.

Originally, it meant to choose or pick out. So at its root, diligence means steady and persistence effort at the right things!

Sometimes we should challenge our to-do list with a not-to-do list. Is there any place we’ve been working hard at the wrong things?

Every few months I do a survey of how I spend my working energy. Sure, I find things I need to do better at and keep doing. But I also find things that simply aren’t worth the time and effort.

Be diligent today by working hard on the right things!


Today’s devotion by Jordan Loftis, bestselling author of Today We Win, host of The Bible Better Podcast, and editor of Short Daily Devotions.