Class 53: The Value of Working Hard and Smart (Part 2)

Welcome to Class 53 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.

I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum (M.Div, Truett Theological Seminary) and Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary). This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.

Today, we are continuing our study titled, “The Value Of Working Hard And Smart”.

As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Martin Luther King Jr. He said, “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets as Raphael painted pictures, sweep streets as Michelangelo carved marble, sweep streets as Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.”

Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:

Now, how does a person become slothful and lazy in the first place?

First, a person can become lazy because it is a natural tendency of mankind to avoid work and that which is difficult or that which appears difficult. Unfortunately, it is a part of our sinful nature as human beings to be lazy.

Second, many young men today are raised to be lazy — not intentionally, I am sure, but the result is the same. Well-meaning parents who attempt to give their dear children “a better life than they had” have a tendency to not teach their children the value and importance of hard work and labor and the proverbial “value of a dollar.” These dear, well-meaning parents, have a tendency to just give the child everything he wants without that child working for anything and earning it the “old fashioned way.” Therefore, the poor child grows up to be a man with the pitiful notion in his mind that the world owes him something for free. And in real life, it doesn’t work that way.

I believe a third reason why so many young men become lazy is because of their addiction to television and this new thing called the video game. Too many of our young black men spend too much time before the television set watching others do their thing and make their money, while they do nothing. On top of that, much television watching gives young men a warped sense of what real life is about. Most of television is fiction and we cannot continue to live fiction lives in a non-fiction world. Get this: TV is not reality! TV is not reality! TV is not reality! Even “reality TV” is not reality! Please stop watching others accomplish things and accomplish something yourself.

Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.

Proverbs 21:25 says, “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.”

Laziness does not result in a diminished desire for the luxuries available in this world. However, it definitely does render one incapable of obtaining such goods. A hard worker earns his wages and usually has sufficient funds to enjoy basic entertainments.

If you choose to live a lazy life, do not complain when your peers who have pursued higher education and are working diligently seem to have everything while you have nothing. Do not cry out “Injustice”, for this world has never been one that caters to those who expect to be catered to. Opportunity and blessings follow those whose lives are worthy of such benefits.

Sit down and define what you are about and what it is you would like to accomplish in life. Set specific goals and pursue them. Notice these verses and note what they add to this point.

Proverbs 20:4: “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.”

You need to know what you want, so you can begin to prepare today. Most of your goals will take several years to accomplish, and until you set out a game plan on how you will go about achieving them, you are living below your potential.

Just like the farmer who must plow months before he receives any fruit from his labor, you must begin to work hard now, realizing it will take time for your dreams to become realities. If you are not disciplined or focused enough to accept such delayed gratification, then you are ultimately settling for the simple, shallow life.

John 6:27: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

When deciding what it is you want to accomplish in life, remember to focus on that which is everlasting. Remember that the fame and riches of this world come and go, but the life that is dedicated to knowing God and making Him known leaves behind a powerful, meaningful legacy.

Lord willing, we will continue this study in our next class.

Now, Just Do It

As we close this lesson, take a little time to think about what you want from your life. Fifty years from now, what accomplishments do you hope to look back and see? Make a list of these goals.

Let’s Pray.


In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”

Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.

If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.