The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
Does money grow on trees? This common question is used to rebuke spendthrifts by its obvious negative answer. But the wise answer is a qualified positive. Yes, money grows on trees, and in fields, and on mountains. Yes, indeed! Bless the God of heaven for His marvelous kindness to men. By seasonal agricultural providence, He offered a good living for those who would gather it. The earth produces potential income for the taking.
King Solomon taught His people to work smart to be successful (Pr 27:23-27). To motivate them to this task and privilege, he reminded them that riches and position do not last forever. He wrote, “For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?” (Pr 27:24). Riches have a way of flying away – only strong men are able to retain them (Pr 11:16; 23:4-5), and many factors work to remove kings from their office.
Working smart here is carefully considering your means of income to enhance its potential and guard against its erosion. “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds” (Pr 27:23). A man cannot settle for going to work every day, for one day his job or business may disappear. He must diligently analyze his industry, his role in that industry, and what adjustments, improvements, or precautions are needed.
To further motivate them, Solomon reminded them of God’s blessing on agriculture, thus the proverb at hand. Hay appears! Pastures do not need plowing, sowing, or cultivating. Hay appears! It may be cut to the ground, cured by the sun, gathered into bales, and stored for winter. God does His part, so it is great folly and sloth not to do your part. What an ungrateful soul, if you do not cheerfully and diligently use His kind gift.
The tender grass shows itself. After cutting or grazing, new grass quickly shows itself by heaven’s order. It reproduces automatically. It grows spontaneously. Again, no need for plowing, sowing, or cultivating! The blessed God gives, and gives some more, and He calls men to diligently use what He provides. A farmer, wisely using his fields, directs and redirects his flocks and herds to a reproducing feast – profitable for them and him.
The same is true of herbs of the mountains. Even in less fertile places, God blesses the earth to bring forth a variety of plant life for man’s use and profit. What must man do to make a profit? Gather it! Why slumber in bed, when money is growing on the mountains.
The blessed God provides all this produce to give a positive testimony of His goodness to men, who have their hearts filled with food and gladness from fruitful seasons (Acts 14:16-17). Have you thanked Him? “Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (Ps 104:23-24). Do you use it as you should?
Agriculture is a gift from God. He created dry land and all plant life on the third day, and it was good (Gen 1:9-13). He then assigned these plants to be the food for both man and beast (Gen 1:29-30). Did man discover farming and the treatments of various grains by trial and error? No! He could have starved to death in the process! God gave him inspired wisdom to know how to cultivate, harvest, and process each of the plants (Is 28:23-29).
Agriculture is one profession. God’s blessings also assist income in other trades and occupations. The chemist benefits from divine laws of synergy; the banker facilitates the productive use of capital (Pr 14:4); the doctor discovers cures and therapies by heaven’s blessing (Pr 8:12); the engineer uses God’s laws of physics and properties of matter to the benefit of man. God has blessed and will bless all noble callings (Pr 8:12-21).
What is the lesson? God providentially assists profits for wise and diligent labor. One motive for labor is this divine blessing, which multiplies your efforts. If you squander this kindness, you will be punished with poverty. Therefore, take heed to know your flocks and herds well, for riches are not forever. Identify God’s blessing on your profession or trade and exploit it for profit and pleasure, giving thanks to God for His great goodness.