The Poverty of Mere Talk

Proverbs 14:23 admonishes us: “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” This is a good reminder to us that just talking about something rarely accomplishes anything. It must be backed up by actions.

How many people “talk” about their plan for some new business, or what they are going to do on the job, but they never really get around to doing anything about it? Or endlessly discuss all that should be done to address the problems of society — but don’t actively do anything to change it? Many people fail in their “New Year Resolutions” not because they don’t have a good plan — but because they don’t follow through by actually DOING what they talked about!

We need to understand that this applies in the church as well. Merely talking in Sunday School or in church about what God’s word says is not the same as doing it. Many Christians talk about how important evangelism and missions is — but that talk doesn’t lead anyone to the Lord! It takes “labor” — in intercessory prayer, in building relationships, in sharing uncomfortable truths, in sacrificial giving, and in going to difficult places.

There are many applications of this principle. Talking about something may be an important and necessary first step, but that in itself is nowhere near enough. It must be followed up by the hard work and discipline of actually doing it. Is there an area of your life in which you have been “talking” about doing something for some time, but you have not really backed it up with any concrete actions? Then this word is for you today: “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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