Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Hard work works! The diligent man will be promoted above average and inferior men to mingle with the prosperous and successful. Discrimination is an excuse. Education is only a tool. Intelligence is not necessary. Diligence is the key - hard and persistent effort applied to one's professional duties. Here is rich and wise King Solomon teaching how to get ahead economically and professionally in the world. Neglect it to your own poverty!
Diligence is hard and persistent effort. Consider the definition provided by the Oxford English Dictionary. "Diligent. Of persons: ‘Constant in application, persevering in endeavour, assiduous', industrious; ‘not idle, not negligent, not lazy.' This word simply means the old-fashioned concept of hard work persistently applied with dedicated focus.
Kings were the highest persons in a nation. Mean men are the lower class of men that make up much of a society. Hard work can take a man from the lower classes to stand before kings. What if he were just a baker? No problem! If he were diligent, it would not be long before he would have contracts to feed the king, his court, and maybe his army!
There is no question whether hard work will make you successful or not. This is not a suggestion or possible method of improving job performance. God's word declares it, and that settles it (Pr 10:4; 12:24; 13:4; 21:5). King Solomon observed it and rewarded it, and that settles it (I Kgs 11:28). Honest men have seen it fulfilled over and over again.
There are two obstacles. Which one hinders you? First, men are lazy. They default to procrastination, put forth the least effort possible, avoid extra work, and seek leisure at the earliest opportunity. They do not get up early, work hard, stay focused, work late, or look for more to do. Solomon repeatedly condemned and ridiculed such sluggards (Pr 6:6-11; 10:26; 12:24; 19:15,24; 20:4,13; 24:30-34; Eccl 10:18).
Second, this generation promotes laziness in two ways. It pays for time rather than performance, and it calls 40 hours a week with lunch breaks, coffee breaks, holidays, and vacations a job. What would a dairy farmer think? It also allows and promotes "business opportunities" that fleece the simple and pad the pockets of the con artists.
The rule is not just for the Old Testament. Paul taught the same thing, "Not slothful in business," in the New Testament (Rom 12:11). And he taught it with detail in several places (I Thess 4:11-12; Eph 4:28; Titus 2:9-10). When will you get up tomorrow morning? How hard will you work? How focused will you stay? Your future is at stake.