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In all toil there is profit

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
(Proverbs 14:23 ESV)

The proverb above is one I have always associated with one particular type of talk: talking about what you’re going to do instead of doing it.

I think that this aspect is true, but incomplete. I have overly limited the meaning of talk.

Here are forms of talk that are justifiably included under this heading because they replace labor and thus prevent profit:

  1. Being critical of others to the neglect of self-reflection or self-improvement
  2. Being a whiner, complainer, or malcontent
  3. Making excuses and being a wimp (we’re all going to die anyway)
  4. Talking about other people’s accomplishments without accomplishing anything yourself
  5. Talking about how other people messed up your life
  6. Talking about what you would do if only you had this or that
  7. Talking about theology instead of praying, reading Scripture, learning Greek/Hebrew, or putting the words of Jesus into practice.
  8. Talking about what other churches do wrong instead of fixing your own church
  9. Complaining about your neighbors instead of ordering your own household or picking up garbage when you go for a walk
  10. Complaining about the government without knowing local politician’s names or platforms or voting
  11. Preaching sermons but not praying, meditating, or otherwise attending to matters of personal spiritual care
  12. Having endless meetings at work but doing no work
  13. Being a part of dozens of Bible studies but not studying for your calling
  14. Being a part of dozens of Bible studies but not memorizing or reading any of the Bible
  15. Talking about your crush and never asking him/her out

I’m sure that this isn’t comprehensive, but I hope it helps.

Any other aspects of “mere talk” that distract from actual labor and therefore from profit?

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