Proverbs 10:4, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

King Solomon in the above proverb is contrasting the difference between poverty and wealth. The poor man, in general, is said to be poor because he or she has “lazy hands” and the wealthy are rich, generally speaking, because they have “diligent hands.” What kind of hands do you have?

Are you the kind of person that works hard, even if others don’t? Or are you the kind of person that always looks for the least amount of work? According to King Solomon there are two basic mindsets people have when it comes to work; those who have lazy hands and those who have diligent hands.

Those with lazy hands will be lazy everywhere they go; in church, at home, on the job, etc. Likewise, those with diligent hands work hard everywhere they go because they can’t settle for anything less than giving their best.

Sadly, some people don’t mind living on food stamps or receiving government checks because they think it’s owed to them. I used to pastor in the inner city of New Orleans and saw this kind of mindset every day. I call this way of thinking a “poverty mindset.” Those with this mindset are comfortable in poverty and have no desire to change their situation because they like spending other people’s money. People with a poverty mindset would rather have a “handout” than a “hand up.”

At the same time, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some really successful businessmen and women, who’ve worked hard in life and have the wealth to show it. One thing all these people had in common was their drive and passion to work hard. It didn’t matter the color of their skin, where they were born, how their parents treated them or even the schools they attended. What separated them from their peers was their work ethic. Some of them came from poverty, other countries, and even had broken the law in the past. However, at one point in their lives they all made a decision to work hard and never give up.

Certainly, King Solomon was aware of people in his day that fell on hard times and may have been poor for a season because of unforeseen circumstances. However, even when good hard working people face troubling times, they still have their work ethic. No matter what they face, they know the only way out of poverty and hard times is to have “diligent hands.” A wise man once said, “God’s blessing to the lazy is work and His blessing to the hard working is prosperity.” Join with other successful people and avoid laziness by working hard with your hands- eventually it will pay off!


Do you have “diligent hands?”


  1. Repent of any laziness you may have.
  2. Ask God to give you the strength to work hard in life.
  3. Be diligent and never give up!

One Year Reading Plan

Joshua 3:1-4:24, Luke 14:7-35, Psalm 80:1-19, & Proverbs 12:27-28. Click here to read online.