Proverbs 20:13

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.


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One of the simplest rules for success is to hate sleep. Of course, you need sleep, but you must learn to hate wasting time in bed. Life is short – each day is short – and time wasted in bed will come back to haunt you. Solomon analyzed life with the wisest mind in the history of the world. His inspired proverbs convey excellent advice for your success.

Poverty is only a snooze button away. If you love your warm bed in the morning and dread leaving your cocoon for the day’s opportunities, you are headed down. If you daily sneak a few more minutes to cuddle yourself before getting up, eventually you will wind up in poverty. Solomon tells you to open your eyes – and get up and attack the day.

As a king and a father, the wise man observed that a character trait of slothful types was to sleep in rather than wake up and get busy with the day’s duties. If you open your eyes, put your foot on the floor, and get moving, you are ahead of your dozing neighbor, and you are on the way to being productive. Remember, it is the early bird that gets the worm.

If you smile to yourself each morning about the joy of doing nothing in the comfort of your bed and how much you hate getting up and going – in other words, loving sleep – you are allowing a dangerous habit to develop. If you are awake enough to think such thoughts, you are awake enough to get up and do something productive. Get up!

Solomon taught a great work ethic, because God expects men to work hard. God charged Adam to dress and keep Eden (Gen 2:15). He judged mankind for sinning by promising bread only as a result of sweat (Gen 3:19). God also went so far as to order starvation for the punishment for any man that does not work hard (II Thess 3:6-12; Pr 20:4).

Diligence rewards men, and laziness ruins men (Pr 10:4; 12:24; 13:4; 22:29). Solomon mocked slothful men. He told them to watch ants; they know how to work (Pr 6:6-8). He asked if they were ever going to get up (Pr 6:9). He said poverty was coming as surely as a traveler gets to a destination or an armed man can rob you (Pr 6:10-11; 24:33-34). He compared extra cuddling in bed to a door turning back and forth on its hinges (Pr 26:14).

Extra sleep makes you drowsy (Pr 19:15; 23:21). The longer you lie still in bed and fast from food, your metabolism slows proportionately. Of course, you need sleep, but you do not need the extra minutes after you wake up in the morning. That extra hour of prolonged inactivity and dozing will often make it harder to get up rather than easier.

Of course, sluggards justify their sleep addiction (Pr 26:16). But the military knows how to train such arrogant and stubborn children – it demands that they get up at 5:00 A.M. rather than the 7:00 A.M. they could have chosen in civilian life. If you are obsessed with a few extra minutes in bed, then go to bed earlier at night. And guess what, as soldiers and successful men have discovered, rising early can become an easy habit.

There is a limit to this rule, and the blessed God of heaven shows His mercy by the limitation. He does not want you getting up too early, staying up too late, or fretting about your efforts – He wants you to sleep instead, because He loves you. When you assume it is your efforts that make the difference in life, He considers it offensive and wrong (Ps 127:1-2). He wants you to put your trust in Him to make the difference.

Loving sleep in bed will bring you financial poverty, but being lazy and sleepy about godliness will surely ruin you spiritually. Slothfulness in reading your Bible, praying, and attending to the preaching of God’s word will bring you poverty in your walk with God. This is why there are repeated warnings in the Bible about waking up spiritually (Matt 24:42-44; 25:1-11; 26:36-45; Rom 13:11-14; Eph 5:14-21; I Thess 5:6-10). Get up!