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September 21 – Talk and toil

“In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23

Scripture readings: Proverbs 14:23; Isaiah 55:10-11

“You’re a big talker.” That describes the person who always tells you what he is going to do, but never gets around to doing it. He says, “I’m going to start my own landscaping company” but turns down a summer landscaping job to sit around. She says, “I’m going to run a marathon for charity,” but never gets up early to run. They pledge to meet weekly for prayer, but two-thirds of the group peels off after two weeks.

“Mere talk tends only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23b). If you only talk about the great job you’re going to get, but never actually go out and get one, you will remain penniless. In addition, if you never put feet to your ideas, they will remain fruitless.

However, “in all toil there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23a). A teenager lands a summer landscaping job. Eventually, he starts his own business. A young woman starts running three miles three times a week. Eventually she runs a marathon, raising $10,000 for missions. A small group meets consistently to pray for conversions in the church and community. The Holy Spirit begins to change hearts.

The proverb does not say “talk tends only to poverty”, but “mere talk tends only to poverty. Deeds begin with dreams. Initiatives begin with ideas.

Above all, God is not a “big talker.” Isaiah 55:10-11 alerts us that His words give birth to life-giving works. We see this especially in the redemptive words and works of our Lord Jesus.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that His life-giving words produce life-giving results. Ask Him to help you walk your talk.

Pastor Richard Zekveld, his wife Nancy (nee Vandermeer), and their five children live in South Holland, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Richard has pastored Covenant Fellowship Church of South Holland (PCA) since 2015, he also works part-time in jail ministry as a chaplain for Chicagoland Prison Outreach. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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