Friday night, our team at my workplace went out for dinner to celebrate meeting our January goals. At that meeting we set the goals for February and my boss introduced something new for us as a team: a Bible verse to ponder and think about every month – to encourage us and give us motivation on the days where we feel like procrastinating (everyone has those days, right?).

This month’s verse is Proverbs 10:4.

“Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”  Proverbs 10:4 NASB

While I was laying away Saturday night (couldn’t sleep), I pondered that verse and suddenly had something about it jump to my attention.  Whenever I’ve read Proverbs, I’ve seen the mentions of the lazy man and the hard working man, but as I thought about Proverbs 10:4, it occurred to me that this was not a case of lazy vs. hardworking. Both these people in this verse were working … but one was working with a negligent hand and one was diligent. But they were both working!

To better understand this, I looked up the words negligent and diligent.


Failing to take proper care in doing something, thoughtless, careless, sloppy, lax, forgetful, inattentive.

From the Latin ‘Neglegere’: Disregard, slight.


Having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties, industrious, hard-working, meticulous, careful, thorough.

From the Latin ‘Diligere’: Love, take delight in.

One thing that really catches my attention about these two definitions is the Latin root, especially in regards to our culture.  It is very common to hear jokes about how we wish the weekend would last and Monday would never come. Yes, some jobs are harder than others, but to me, joking like this seems to ‘slight’ work. We like to take life easy, but all through Scripture work is valued and blessed. We are even to work heartily as if we were working for the Lord.  I love that thought. What would life be like if we truly ‘took delight in’ our work? Some workplaces are very difficult and some of the people we work with can be mean – but this is our opportunity to shine, to put Christ at the center of all we do, to work diligently for Him.

This thought is challenging me more and at the same time, I find it very encouraging. I want to be a diligent worker – not one who works with a negligent hand. I want to be productive and also have my work be high quality. For the month of February, Proverbs 10:4 will be on my desk, challenging and encouraging me to do just that.

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