Here are twenty practical principles from Proverbs to motivate you to work hard and avoid laziness. After you read through these principles, take the time to go back through and look up the origin of each principle in the book of Proverbs.
1. Remember, working hard is first a mindset (and so is laziness). [Proverbs 10:5; 15:19; 22:13; 26:13, 16]
2. Working hard and staying on task is a matter of self-control. [Proverbs 16:32b; 25:28]
3. Get up early. Try to stand up right when the alarm clock goes off. [Proverbs 20:13; 24:30-34; 26:14; 31:15]
4. Do hard jobs first and easier jobs second; then you can have fun. [Proverbs 22:29; 21:20; 24:27]
5. Love what you do as a vocation, regardless of what it is. Ask God to grant His blessing and favor in your work (cf. the account of Joseph in Genesis 39). [Proverbs 12:11, 14b; 28:19]
6. Don’t try to make money by deceit or fraud. If you do, God will punish you, sooner or later. [Proverbs 3:9-10; 10:2; 11:18; 15:27; 16:8; 20:14; 28:8, 20]
7. Be honest with your employer about how much you work. If you’re lazily collecting a paycheck, that’s stealing. [Proverbs 14:23; 20:17; 22:16; 30:8-9]
8. Don’t work so much, however, that you need to re-introduce yourself to your family. Strive for a healthy balance between your work and your family life. [Proverbs 13:11, 25; 15:16-17; 23:4-5; 24:3-4]
9. If you travel too much (according to your wife’s/family’s honest, loving assessment), seek to curb your travel, if possible. Perhaps another position would provide greater harmony in your home. [Proverbs 11:29; 15:22, 32; 18:15, 22; 19:20; 21:16]
10. If your wife is regularly wondering how the bills are going to be paid, and you’re not taking initiative to lead, confess your failure in leadership and take control of your family finances. [Proverbs 16:26; 19:14; 21:5; 26:15]
11. Treat your work (house cleaning, school work, or whatever it is) as though you will reap a harvest from your labors. [Proverbs 20:4; 27:18, 23-27]
12. Don’t work only in order to receive. Rather, find satisfaction in simply doing good work for God and men. [Proverbs 3:27-28; 12:26; 21:25-26; 24:21-22; 25:21-22]
13. Lazy people often assume that others owe them a handout (whether they’ve worked hard or not). Don’t fall into an entitlement mentality. [Proverbs 13:4]
14. When you are asked to serve in some way, don’t attempt to take the path of least resistance (because of laziness). [Proverbs 10:26; 19:15]
15. Consider how much more would be accomplished for the kingdom of Christ if you worked as hard in ministry as you do for a paycheck. [Proverbs 18:9]
16. Consider how your employer would evaluate you if his assessment was based on your work ethic in ministry. (Would you be fired?) [Proverbs 21:2]
17. If you are a lazy person, or if you tend toward laziness in certain areas of your life, confess your sin to God. Whether at home, at work, or in ministry, admit to God that you haven’t been working as hard as you should (He knows already)HeH, and ask Him to cleanse you from sin. [Proverbs 28:13]
18. Abandoning laziness and growing in diligence means you must be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Here are some practical steps you can take: [Proverbs 12:24, 27; 31:27]
a. Ask the Spirit to make you a hard worker for God.
b. Read, re-read, and even memorize the proverbs that pertain to both laziness and work.
c. Trust God to overcome any bad habits you’ve developed regarding work and diligence.
d. When you are tempted to be lazy, seek the Spirit’s help in prayer and remind yourself what the Word of God teaches.
19. Show how the Proverbs on diligence and laziness are important by reading them to your family and then applying the biblical principles. Discuss with your family how you can hold one another accountable to be diligent workers for God and men. [Proverbs 1:8; 2:1-2; 3:1-2; 4:1-2, 10-11, 20; 5:1-2; 6:20; 7:1-3; 8:32-36; 22:17-21; 23:15-25]
20. Ask God to give you opportunities to become a hard worker, and then look for Him to answer in every realm of your life (home, work, school, ministry, etc.). [Proverbs 6:6-11; 24:30-34]