"Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense."
- Proverbs 12:11
"Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it."
- Proverbs 13:11
One of the things I love about Proverbs is the way God exposes an entire wrong attitude in just a few words. Here, He contrasts, in the way of Hebrew poetry, honest day-by-day labor with get-rich-quick schemes. Isn't this such a major aspect of today's economic crisis? Those who would use the stock market or home loans for a quick buck? Even though agriculture is the example used in this text, I don't think it's a matter of setting up some agrarian ideal. That was merely the best visual aid in the society of the time.
This proverb is a rephrasing of the dominion, or cultural, mandate given in Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion..." It is repeated in Psalm 8:6, "You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet."
Where I work, I deal with a lot of people who play the state lottery. They lay down their money every week, out of the delusion that their dollar ticket is going to win them gazillions of dollars without any additional effort on their parts. However, statistically speaking, if they simply took that same money and put it in a savings account, they would generate more wealth than they can expect to gain from the lottery. But the gleam of quick wealth blinds them to the dullness of actually saving money. Isn't the hare always more glorious than the tortoise? But which one won the race, hmmm? Even the pagan Aesop understood the principle of this Proverb better than do most modern Christians.