Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Diligence, Diligence, is What I Long For - Youth Sunday School Lesson

Needed: Bibles

Proverbs 10:4Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.

What is diligence?  Diligence is working hard, to keep trying to attain your goals, to “give it all you’ve got”, to have endurance.

Why is the message to be diligent in the Bible?  Does God really care if we work hard or not?
Genesis 2:15 - The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

God made mankind to work. He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden to take care of it. He has made us and our world in such a way that if we want something, we generally have to work for it. Grades, skills, finances, relationships, spirituality. Everything takes work.

Proverbs 12:11He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Solomon is contrasting farming, working the land, with chasing fantasies. Why is “working the land” so much better than “chasing fantasies”? Working the land is solid.  The land is there.  You know that if you do things right, there will be a crop.  Whereas nothing is a sure thing, it is as close to a guarantee that we have.

How does this verse apply to us if we don’t “work the land”?  What are some other things we could do that are pretty much guaranteed returns? It’s like if we work hard in school, we know that we’ll get good grades.  If we work hard at sports or playing an instrument, we know that we’ll get good at it. If we go to work for a company and perform our job duties, they will pay us. If we work hard at our relationships with our spouses, we will have good marriages. 

What are some of the fantasies that we could chase? Chasing fantasies might be something like dropping out of school to start your own business.  Or thinking that instead of going to work, you can just play the lottery or the stock market. Or get-rich-quick schemes. “Work 2 hours a day! From home! And earn $5,000 a week!”

Proverbs 22:13The sluggard says, "There is a lion outside!" or, "I will be murdered in the streets!"

What is the “sluggard” doing in this verse?  Making excuses. He doesn’t want to go outside and go to work so he’s making up excuses not to.

How do we do this? What are some excuses we use for not working at something? Saying something is too hard. We can’t really try in our marriage because it’s just too hard. We never really get anywhere. I can’t work in school because I’m not good at that kind of stuff. I shouldn’t work that hard at my job because no one notices anyway.

God’s promise says that if we work at something and continue to work at something, being diligent, we will be rewarded. Things will improve.

Proverbs 24:30-34I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; 31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. 32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest- 34 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
Why is the sluggards field not being taken care of? He’s lazy. He’s sleeping.

And because he hasn’t been “working the land”, he’s poor. It’s the same thing with us. If we’re not working at something, if we’re not diligent in some area of our lives, that part of our life is going to be in poor conditions. If we’re not actively working on our spiritual life, it’s going to fall into ruin. If we had a skill and then we stop using that skill for a while, we’ll lose it. Use it or lose it.

Proverbs 26:15The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.

Why do you think this verse says that the “sluggard” already has his hand in the dish?  What does it mean when it says that he won’t bring the food back to his mouth? Work or some way to make money is available to most people. They have their hand in the dish.  All they have to do is take advantage of the opportunities that are around them. All they have to do is bring the food to their mouth.  A  good education is available to you. All you have to do is take advantage of it. For instance, God’s Word is there for you. All you have to do is invest some time in it.

Bring your hand back to your mouth. Be diligent and you will be rewarded.

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