“Do not overwork to be rich… Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (PV 23:4, 5)
Many religious people quote this verse to excuse their laziness. They say that there is no need to work because wealth can disappoint. The Bible says that God is the owner of all things. God has made all things for Himself! We have no ownership rights, only responsibilities. This scripture does not say that work is bad. God created man to work. Even before the fall God told man to work in the Garden. The text does not say that it is wrong to work for money. God says that we should be stewards over the things (gifts) He gave to us. The text does not say that it is wrong to be rich. We should not feel guilty when we enjoy the good things in this world. What is wrong is to work only to become rich!!! It is wrong to work only for the increase and pleasure provided by material things. Materialism means to work hard only for the things of this world. Materialistic people are not lazy! They also work very hard. But their heart is not right with God.
What then is the purpose of work? We work for the glory of God and for our good. We work because God works. “Jesus answered them, “To this very day My Father is at His work, and I too am working.” Because of this, the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him” (Jn 5:17, 18). The devil hates and persecutes you when you work for the glory of God. Laziness is not a virtue. We work to have resources to contribute to the increase of the Kingdom of God. We work so that we do not have to steal to survive and bring shame upon the name of our God. We work so that we can be generous to others who need our help. If your heart is right with God, then He will bless your hands!