I Kings 11:2 – “And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.”
Solomon did not follow the Lord as he should have, and as a result, God took the kingdom from his hands and Jeroboam eventually became the king of Israel. Jeroboam, who had many undesirable qualities, was recognized and promoted because of a particular character trait that he possessed: “He was industrious.” With all of his faults, Jeroboam was commended for his industry.
This is a required characteristic for God’s servants. The word industry means diligence or hard work. There is much in the Scripture about the virtue of industry or having a strong work ethic. When God placed Adam in the garden, He gave him a job to do. Jesus said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). It is not coincidental that the Lord’s work is called “work.” It takes work to do what God would have us to do. Of course, we can do nothing without the Lord. God has a work for us to do, and He even works through us.
It is apparent to most of us that our society is lacking much in this category. Too many people want something for nothing, or want to be rewarded for laziness. Just as the Bible has much to say about hard work, it is not silent about slothfulness. “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Proverbs 12:24). Slothfulness is sin. Solomon could see Jeroboam’s industry. People notice when others are hard workers, and they also notice when people are lazy.
As Christians, it is important that we have a good testimony in regard to our work ethic. It resulted in a promotion for Jeroboam. One of the most important things a parent can teach their children is the value of industry. If we have not trained our children to labor, we have not prepared them for life. Our text says that when Solomon saw “the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler.” A person who is not willing to work will not go far in life, nor will he be useful to the work of God.