Proverbs 13:17

ESV A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing.
NIV A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.
NASB A wicked messenger falls into adversity, But a faithful messenger brings healing.
CSB A wicked envoy falls into trouble, but a trustworthy courier brings healing.
NLT An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
KJV A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

What does Proverbs 13:17 mean?

An earlier proverb noted the trouble that comes to those who don't fulfill their assigned tasks (Proverbs 10:26). An "envoy" is something like an ambassador. When such a person is reliable, their work is valuable and of great benefit to others (Proverbs 25:13).

While the literal terms of this proverb apply to those carrying messages, the basic principle can be applied to any person employed or tasked by others. The person who "slacks off," accomplishing little, is something like a "wicked messenger." He may spend hours lounging at fellow employees' stations or hanging around the coffee machine or taking an extended lunch break. This translates to a lack of productivity that hurts his employer, and others who work in that environment. This may lead to his getting fired.

By contrast, those who diligently accomplish what's expected contribute to everyone's success and safety. A trustworthy employee fulfills his assignments, exceeds his employer's expectations, and makes wise use of his time and resources (Colossians 3:23). He contributes to the health of the company he works for and enjoys a respectful relationship with his employer. When the employer is fair, this can lead to many benefits.
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