Diligence: The Antidote to Poverty
Escaping difficult financial circumstances requires hard work and a commitment to perseverance.
It doesn’t matter how many tax dollars and government programs we throw at the problem of poverty — it’s never going away. Because the only real solution comes from the inside out. Diligence is the antidote to poverty.
Poverty is as old as humanity itself, and it’s a terrible thing. Though we think of poverty as a lack of money and resources, it’s much more than that. Poverty is a form of financial slavery. It’s an attitude and a mindset that can be passed from parents to children, trapping entire families in destructive cycles. When the cycles happen over and over again, they can become widespread and systemic, trapping entire nations in destitute conditions.
There is a solution to poverty, but like the problem itself, it comes from inside your heart.
Governments have been trying to eradicate poverty for generations, but to no avail. But not government can solve a problem that originates in our hearts. There is a solution to poverty, but like the problem itself, it comes from inside your heart. The antidote to poverty is diligence.
The Antidote to Poverty in Proverbs
It may seem callous and naive to suggest that poor people simply need to work harder. But this is not just my advice: It’s age-old wisdom that comes straight from the wisest (and richest) man in history. Let’s examine Proverbs 10:4 to see what Solomon has to say on the subject of poverty and diligence:
Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
In a way, this proverb says something most of us already know — you get money from working hard. But there’s more to it: Poverty comes from laziness, but diligence helps us escape poverty and move into a place of financial freedom.
What exactly is diligence? You may think it’s just another word for hard work, but it’s more than that. Diligence is hard work applied faithfully over time.
Notice that there are three elements here: First is hard work. Second is being faithful to do that hard work on a consistent basis. No slacking off or taking breaks when you don’t feel like exerting yourself. And third is the element of time — working hard for a day or two is not the same thing as being diligence. Diligence requires faithfully applying yourself to work hard toward a certain goal. Day in and day out. Over an extended period of time.
You can go to the gym and push yourself in a great workout for an hour one day. But if you only do that occasionally, you won’t see many results. On the other hand, if you go to the gym and bust it for an hour a day, every day, for six months, you will see real change in your physical condition. That’s diligence.
Diligence in the Real World
So how does diligence provide an escape from poverty? First off, it puts you in a position to earn money. If you’re having trouble finding a job, for example, then you’re in a pretty tough spot. What should you do? Apply yourself diligently to finding work. Don’t give up after a few days if doors don’t open immediately. Even if you’ve been unemployed for months, continue to dedicate yourself to finding a job. Work at it all day, every day, until it happens. That’s diligence.
Don’t go into work just to pass the time — apply yourself diligently to doing whatever you can to make your company prosper.
Diligence will also help increase the amount of your income. We all face the temptation to give less than our best at work. Employees do the minimum amount of work necessary to keep from getting fired. But if you break that mold and bring the best of yourself everyday, you will earn the attention of your leaders. Don’t go into work just to pass the time — apply yourself diligently to doing whatever you can to make your company prosper. Work hard day in and day out. Over time you’ll get noticed, and your income will grow.
Want to improve your overall employment prospects so you can earn more than minimum wage? In many cases, that takes education and other specialized training. You can do it, but you’ll have to work hard at it. Earning a college degree takes years of work, and if you approach it with laziness, you will likely fail. Apply yourself diligently to your studies, however, and you will succeed. And you’ll become a more desirable employee.
Be Diligent in Your Planning
One more thought on diligence and poverty: Although we commonly think of poverty as a result insufficient income, it can also be a result of uncontrolled spending. So just as you apply diligence to your work in making money, you should also diligently work to manage the money you do have.
Many people live in poverty because they don’t know how to handle the money that they do have. To solve this problem, you have to hunker down and work hard at planning and budgeting, making sure that you’re spending your money in wise ways and not wasting it on frivolity. If you’re in debt, apply yourself diligently to paying it off (instead of just paying the monthly minimums). If you need to buy a car, save diligently until you have the cash to pay for it.
It’s easy to talk about these things but much more difficult to put them in to practice. But that’s what diligence is all about. If you want to escape poverty, set your heart to work hard. Then keep doing it, over and over again, until your situation changes.The antidote to poverty is found in your willingness to work hard and keep going.
It won’t happen overnight. But if you’re faithful to work hard, God will be faithful to bring you out of poverty and into financial freedom.