A Day in the Life of a Sluggard
A lazy man's life is more complicated than a working man's. The harder he tries to escape difficulty, the more it chases him. The problems he avoids are replaced by bigger ones.
A Sluggard Has Problems With "Lions"
"The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets" (Proverbs 22:13). He is as good at making excuses as the high school sophomore who was assigned a term paper. When due day came the teacher went to collect it, he said, "My dog ate it." The teacher, who knew he had not worked much on his paper, still at least expected a better excuse. She gave him a hard stare. He persisted, "It's true. I had to force him, but he ate it."
"The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain" (Proverbs 15:19). This is saying that to those who do not want to work, the work always looks too hard (thorns), but once a man gets into it, it sorts itself out and was not as hard as it looked (plain). It is foolish to frighten ourselves from real duties by fancied difficulties. The French say, "With enough 'ifs' we could put Paris into a bottle." A farmer sat in front of his shack in July. A friend asked, "How's your cotton coming?" "Ain't got none," he answered. "Didn't plant none. 'Fraid of the boll weevil." Well, how's your corn?" "Didn't plant none. 'Fraid o' drouth." "How about your potatoes?" "Ain't got none. Scairt o' tater bugs." The man finally asked, "What did you plant?" "Nothin'," answered the farmer. "I just played it safe."
A Sluggard Has Problems With His Mouth
Paul warned about young widows who had no family responsibilities: ". . . withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not" (1 Timothy 5:13). Often the greatest troublemakers in the church are those doing the least. The old farmer explained, "It's hard for a mile to kick and pull at the same time." William Blake quipped, "Expect poison from standing water." Following the path of least resistance is what makes people and rivers crooked. Idle words will bring judgment (Matthew 12:36-37).
A Sluggard Has Problems With His Hands--But Not His Wishbone
"The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour" (Proverbs 21:25). "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat" (Proverbs 13:4). The dilemma of the lazy is that his hands won't work but his mind does. He desires the gains the diligent get, but hates the pains they take. He looks at the house, vehicle, land and property of a hard-working man and comments how he would like to have a life like that. But he is unwilling to set the alarm, go to work, maintain a relationship with superiors and co-workers, save, invest, give to God and keep up such assets. Benjamin Franklin said, "Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him." God says, "So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man" (Proverbs 24:34). Poverty, though at first a distance, gradually draws near, like a traveler; and when it arrives, is like an armed man, too strong to be resisted. "Laziness grows on people--it begins in cobwebs and ends in chains."
Even a working man must control what he desires for no one can (or should) get everything he or she wants. If we are not careful we will purchase "little extras" and spend on this or that entertainment to the point that we do not have enough to give generously to God or to make the big purchases our families need. "He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich" (Proverbs 21:17).
A Sluggard Has Problems With His Calendar
It is always on the wrong page. The lazy person speaks much about yesterday and more about tomorrow. "Tomorrow, tomorrow, not today, Hear the lazy people say" (German proverb). The lazier a man is, the more he is going to do tomorrow. The Bible's great emphasis is on "now" (used 407 time in the New Testament) and "to day" (used nineteen times). For instance, it says, ". . . To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts . . ." (Hebrews 3:7-8). Paul writes, "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation . . ." (2 Corinthians 6:2b). The lazy man is always going to get around to it tomorrow. "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep" (Proverbs 24:30-33).
A Sluggard Has Problems With His Pantry
God suggests a field trip is in order for the lazy man. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8). Ants have been famous in all ages for social habits, foresight, economy and industry. Collecting food at the proper seasons, they bite off the ends of the grain to prevent it from germinating, and lay it up in cells till needed. Though one of God's smallest creatures, it has a lesson to teach the sluggard. Even the ant is smart enough to know it has to work to get ahead. "There is no way to get without getting with it." Winter is coming; prepare in summer.
". . . now is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Romans 13:11; cf. Ephesians 5:14).