This verse is the essence of the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The ant worked HARD all summer while the grasshopper wiled away the hours, playing and having fun, but when the winter came, the ant had plenty of provisions laid up for his family, while the grasshopper died out in the cold.
Proverbs 12: 11 (NKJV)
11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread,
But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.
tills: To prepare (land) for the raising of crops, as by plowing and harrowing; cultivate
satisfied: Filled with satisfaction; content
bread: 1. a. Food in general, regarded as necessary for sustaining life b. Something that nourishes; sustenance 3. Means of support; livelihood
frivolous: 1. Unworthy of serious attention; trivial 2. Inappropriately silly
frivolity: 1. The quality or condition of being frivolous. 2. A frivolous act or thing.
devoid: Completely lacking; destitute or empty
understanding: 1. Characterized by or having comprehension, good sense, intelligence or discernment. 2. Compassionate; sympathetic
Using the definitions of the main words from today’s verse, we see that the person who works by doing the job that God has given him to bring him his “Daily Bread,” will be sustained and content, while the person who doesn’t pay attention and just goes around being silly instead of working, doesn’t show ANY intelligence or good sense.
I found some of the other translations of this verse to be helpful in understanding it as well:
The New American Standard Bible puts it this way:
11. He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.
The New International Version says: 11. He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.
And last, but not least, “The Message” version says: 11. The one who stays on the job has food on the table; the witless chase whims and fancies.