Admit it, man is a very lazy creature. We want everything at our convenience so that we don’t have to lay one finger to it. We want someone to cook our meals, so, we either get married or go out to eat. We want someone to clean out house, so we either get married or hire a maid to do it. We want someone to mow our lawn, so we either allow our wife or kids to do it or we hire it out. We want someone to wash our clothes, so we either get married or we have the dry cleaners for it for us. I could go on and on at the things a lazy man will do to get out of work.
The same applies in religion. Man is too lazy to study God’s Word, so he pretends he’s too busy to read the bible. He is too lazy to sing, so he allows others to sing while he hums or mouths the words half heartily. He is too lazy to carry a tune, so he desires a piano player or a band. He is too lazy to pray, so he calls on someone to do it for him. He is too lazy to lead, so he allows unqualified men to lead. He is too lazy to teach, so he allows women to do it for him. He is too lazy to preach, so he hires a preacher to do it for him. He is too lazy to attend service, so he sends his money instead. He is too lazy to even listen to the preacher preach, so he dozes off during services. Admit it! Man must be the laziest creature that God has ever created.
One of the dangers of laziness is that our children are watching us for an example. Our laziness teaches them to waste their time watching TV or DVD’s, listening to MP3s or CDs, on the internet wasting their time, talking on their cell phones or playing video games, etc. How can we honestly correct them when we ourselves are guilty of the same?
God condemns laziness as a sin (Mt. 25:25). The book of Proverbs uses approximately 33 verses to condemn laziness.
There are many reasons people will not work. The book of Proverbs calls our attention to these:
1. Too much sleep. “How long will you sleep, O sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall your poverty come as one that travels, and thy want as an armed man” (Prov. 6:9-11). “As the door turns upon his hinges, so does the slothful upon his bed” (Prov. 26:14 cf; 19:15; 20:13).
2. Too much talking. The wise man called attention to the tendency of wasting one’s time talking when he wrote, “In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tends only to penury” (Prov. 14:23). When some are left with a job to do, they do not get the job done because they have wasted their time talking, whether on the phone or person to person.
3. No motivation. Some have no motivation to work (Prov. 19:24 cf; 26:15).
4. Procrastination. “Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow” is the motto of lazy people. Such was the case of Felix: “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go your way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for you. (Acts 24:25).
1. Laziness brings poverty (Prov. 6:11; 24:33-34). “He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He that gathers in summer is a wise son: but he that sleeps in harvest is a son that causes shame” (Prov. 10:4-5). “The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing” (Prov. 13:4; cf. 19:15; 20:4; 23:21).
2. Laziness puts one under tribute. “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Prov.12:24).
3. Laziness leads to unfulfilled desires. “The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all the day long: but the righteous gives and spares not” (Prov. 21:24-25).
Fruits of Laziness
1. Shame. “He that gathers in summer is a wise son: but he that sleeps in harvest is a son that causes shame” (Prov. 10:5).
2. Obnoxious to others. “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him” (Prov. 10:26).
3. Gossip. Those who have nothing to do tend to waste their time talking about those who are working (1 Tim. 5:13).
Virtues Of Diligence
In contrast to being lazy, the wise man instructed men to be diligent in their work. Here are some of the things said about the diligent worker:
1. His is self-disciplined. “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her meat in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest” (Prov. 6:6-8). The ant works without a boss watching his every move. So does a diligent man.
2. His desires motivate him. “He that labors, labors for himself; for his mouth craves it of him” (Prov. 16:26). He sees something that he wants, so he works in order to obtain it.
3. He comes to prosperity (Prov. 10:4). The natural fruit of hard work is prosperity.
Remember the old saying: “An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop.” It’s hard to be tempted when our mind is on our works. As Paul wrote, “That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (1 Thess 4:11).
Conclusion: Rather than looking at work as if it were a curse from God, we need to understand that it was a part of God’s original plan and will for man (Gen. 2:15 – man was to dress and keep the garden of Eden prior to the curse which sin brought). When we are privileged to have a job, to be able to earn a living, and to do something productive, let us do it joyfully, with eagerness.
God gave all Christian men a work to do. They are to provide for their families (1 Tim 5:8). They must study God’s Word that they might be capable to preach and teach the word of God (Heb 5:12-14 ff; 2 Tim 2:2; 2 Tim 4:2-5). Qualified men are to lead the flock (Acts 20:28). They are to lead the singing. They are to lead the praying. They are to wait on the Lord’s table. They are to prove, defend and contend for the faith (1 Thess 5:21 ff; Philip 1:15-18; Jude 3). They are to do every menial work the church presents to them. Christian men, I speak to you! Work while there is yet day, for the night comes when no man can work (Jn 9:4).
And if God permit, I will address the work of Christian women in my next lesson.