Proverbs 21:26

He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

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All men are not equal. Diligent men are far better than lazy men. Giving is far better than coveting. Sluggards greedily lust all the time; diligent and godly men give away liberally.

The difference between the righteous and the wicked is very great, and it includes your work ethic and charity. God sees all parts of life, and godly men are conscientious about business and charity (Pr 15:3). Reader, where do you fall between sluggard or diligent?

This proverb is connected to the one before it, “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour” (Pr 21:25). Lazy men, though sleeping or playing all the time, destroy their peace by wanting things they cannot have, because they hate work. Lusts chase them day and night; envy of others creates constant angst; but they will not labor.

Lazy men are corrupt in character and rebellious to goodness. They are perverse by being slothful and covetous – two opposites. While slackness starves them, their lusts scourge them. They defy goodness by taking charity and wanting still more rather than giving to the needy. They want from others, though they refuse to help themselves or others.

The sluggard covets – he wants what he does not have and what he will not work for. He covets greedily by lusting for far more than he deserves or knows how to use. He does it all day long, for he is not gainfully occupied with business and projects like other men. His lusts never leave, for the advantages and possessions of others constantly irritate him.

The righteous man is very different. God loves him, and he loves God, and he also loves his neighbor. He works faithfully every day to provide for all his needs and have enough left over to give to the truly needy (but never to the slothful). When he gives, he gives liberally; he never begrudges charity; he scatters his earnings (Pr 11:24-26; Eccl 11:1-6).

A good reason to work hard, like godly men do, is to give money away. This is godliness (Eph 4:28; Luke 3:11; Ps 112:9; I Tim 6:17-19). Good men care more about giving than getting, serving than being served, loving than being loved. It is more blessed to give than receive, though seven men cannot convince a sluggard of the rule (Pr 26:16; Acts 20:35).

There are natural and supernatural laws – both work against the sluggard; both work for the diligent. First, the natural: laziness brings poverty and slavery; diligence brings riches and power (Pr 10:4; 12:24; 13:4; 22:29). Then, the supernatural: God hinders the efforts of the slothful, but He blesses the diligent (Pr 15:19; 22:5; 28:20). Thus, diligent men advance geometrically over the slothful, just as God intended (Luke 19:24-27; Eccl 2:26).