3 The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
4 Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
5 He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
When considering the above passages from a Christian perspective, I see two interpretations: a literal and a spiritual or metaphorical.
First, the literal interpretation.
As Christians who wear the righteousness of Jesus faithfully, we trust in God and we know that He will provide for us. As Jesus said, “behold the fowls of the air, for they sew not neither do they reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you much better than they?”
In times of trouble and famine, we can trust in the Lord to provide for us. However, I never want to negate the possibility of suffering, because should a Christian find themselves in such a position, I never want them to lose faith. If no help seems to come, then consider it your time to honor Jesus by remaining faithful to death. You are not forsaken, but rather, you are nearing the Kingdom and you are glorified in your suffering and glorification of the Son.
If we are willing to work, then we should do well—especially in the United States. However, I also know that there are life circumstances that can lead to poverty, and sometimes we might choose to live simply because we have other priorities, and these priorities can be upright in the eyes of God.
In all things, we should refrain from becoming envious or entitled to the wealth of others, instead opting for honest work with our own hands to the best of our ability. We should be thankful, trust in the Lord, and abide peaceably in whatever situation we find ourselves in.
If we have wealth, then we should distribute to those in need, however with wisdom so that we are not enabling those who could work for themselves but choose not to. If we enable these, then we are enabling their bondage instead of encouraging the freedom that comes through self-sufficiency.
A father should expect his son to work with his own hands and to be wise during times of plenty by making good use of that which he was given. If a father owned a crop and his son was lazy during the harvest, we can see how that would be troubling for the father.
Now, the spiritual interpretation—which is the one I like best.
I want to consider wealth in terms of wealth in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus said, “blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
Jesus also said, “lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust do corrupt, and thieves break through and steal. Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moths nor rust corrupt nor thieves break through and steal. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.”
With these ideas in mind, consider the verses above.
Jesus does not let the righteous go hungry without filling them. If we hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ—which is the knowledge of Jesus and the power to walk according to His ways in this present world—we will be filled.
There are many scriptures that support this idea, and this is what the Christian life is about—it is about growing in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven and dying to the kingdom of this world through faith in Jesus. This is a life-long pursuit, and the treasures we have to gain are so valuable that they cannot be compared to anything we might gain by seeking the pleasures of this life instead. See the parable of the Pearl of Great Price.
If we are lazy in the faith and with the salvation that was bought with the blood of the Son of God, then we will not prosper in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus says that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
As Christians, we are inheriting a Kingdom—and there is work to be done in this kingdom. If we are faithful to what we receive, then we can receive more. The parable of the talents is a great example of this. Jesus also said that we should “occupy until I come.”
We have work in the Kingdom of Heaven to do in this life, and we should seek Jesus to learn what that work is and continue seeking Him so that we can be faithful to perform that which He gives us to do, knowing that He provides everything we need. We want to be faithful servants, not “wicked and slothful” servants.
As Christians, we are children of God and joint heirs of the promise with Jesus Christ. We want to make our Father in heaven proud, not grieved. In times of plenty, we should gather all things that will make us strong in the Kingdom of Heaven and ready to make a stand against the kingdom of darkness and of the prince thereof.
We have so much available to us, especially in the United States. We can worship freely without persecution. We have many resources for learning the scriptures and for fellowship. We have all of our basic needs met in the flesh—and then some. In this time, we should be making use of all that God has given us so that we are prepared for the time of famine—and that time of famine will come.
There will come a time of famine—both a famine of bread and a famine of the Bread of Life when the word of God is made criminal.
We still have time to be diligent, faithful servants who make use of all that the Father has given to us—and He has given us an abundance.
We have abundance in the things of a prosperous nation here in the United States and we have abundance in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Let’s not neglect the time of harvest. There is so much for us within the Kingdom of Heaven—and Jesus opened the way up for us so that we can harvest His treasures freely. However, we cannot serve God and this world also—so we should be thankful for the abundance we have been given in this country and use that abundance as a means to peaceably seek the Kingdom of Heaven before the time of peace is over.
If we do this, then when the kingdom of darkness descends, we will not be “taken” unawares. We will be awake and ready with our lamps burning bright. See the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.
What about myself?
I want to do better. I want to continue seeking Jesus so that I can grow in the riches of His Kingdom—and I never want to lose the faith that He can and will work mightily in me so that I can overcome the kingdom of this world. I want to be more serious about casting off sin and putting on Christ—and that means letting go of worries over the things of this life and trusting more fully in Him.
I want to be ready to stand against the kingdom of darkness—and that begins now. “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.” Every day provides us with opportunity to shine as faithful, Jesus-wearing servants of the Kingdom of Heaven who strive against the things of the kingdom of Satan in faith. I want to do better, day by day, and should that great Day of the Lord come, I want to be prepared.