A recent CareerBuilder.com survey found that 29 percent of employees admitted skipping work by using a bogus excuse at least once during the year. Among the more amusing excuses received by employers from workers: One said a chicken had attacked his mom. Another said his hair transplant had gone bad. Still another said his foot was caught in the garbage disposal.
These slackers would do well to heed the advice in Proverbs 6, a chapter concerned with practical applications of wisdom in everyday life. One such application is that hard work is preferable over laziness (vv. 6–11). The writer uses the ant as a natural object lesson of diligence—it works hard to gather and store its food. By contrast, a human sluggard can hardly be bothered to get out of bed and is inevitably headed for poverty. (This does not mean that all poor people are lazy; rather, that the sluggard’s habits can lead to poverty.)
Another application of wisdom is the advisability of humility (vv. 1–5). Sooner or later, we’re all going to be wrong or make a mistake. When we find ourselves in such a position, at the mercy of someone else, the best thing to do is to go to that person immediately and request forgiveness (v. 3). Pride will only get us into further trouble!
Finally, wisdom can help us resist the temptation of adultery (vv. 20–35). A thief stealing food might have some excuse, but adultery is a more serious offense, displays more foolishness, and provokes more divine and human anger.
Wisdom recognizes that people reap what they sow (vv. 12–19). Disaster overtakes the wicked, while the righteous are blessed. (Remember, these sayings describe the moral order of things in general, not a certain observable result in every case.)