Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 7 Page 3 July 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

A Day in the Life of a Sluggard

Part One

We're all against laziness, in theory, but how can we tell if we fit the category?

A Sluggard . . . Has Problems With His Alarm Clock

A Danish proverb says, "A lazy boy and a warm bed are difficult to part." The Bible says, "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep . . ." (Proverbs 6:9-11). How much sleep is enough? the comedian quipped, "For the average person--about an hour more." The Italians say, "Five hours of sleep a traveler, seven a scholar, eight a merchant, and eleven every knave." Truthfully, it varies from person to person. Children need more sleep than adults; young adults often more than older adults. Some on medication or with health problems require nine or ten hours. Others with strong constitutions require only four to five. Each can experiment for a week at a time at different amounts (it takes time to adjust) to find where he or she feels best and is most productive. Once this is determined, don't spend more time between the sheets than needed.

. . . Eats the Wrong Kind of Toast

The worthy woman ". . . looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness" (Proverbs 31:27). You may like Flowers, Merita, Sunbeam, Peppridge Farm or Dixie Darling, but don't eat the bread called, "Idleness." Parents should not feed this brand to their children, either. Whatever happened to children getting up in time to make their beds before school and having chores to do after school? Many would have better grades if they had a couple of hours a night with the books instead of with the remote control. Not a few come to Bible class without ever having looked at the lesson or memorized that week's verse.

Fathers need to teach sons the value of work. The Jewish proverb has a grain of truth in it: "He who doesn't teach his son a trade teaches him to steal" (cf. Proverbs 22:6). One reason that employers have trouble getting production from young workers is that some dads never taught their sons to work. It was easier just to do it themselves or hire someone rather than teach them how to do it or motivate them to leave the TV or Nintendo long enough to mow the grass, wash the car, hoe the garden, change the oil, rake the leaves, help the widow, organize their room or clean the basement. This is a failure of parental responsibility.

Mothers, too, need to teach daughters how to keep the house straightened, prepare meals, purchase groceries and supplies, sew a button on (perhaps make a shirt), take food to the bereaved and care for the needs of husbands and children. Otherwise, how will they be prepared to do what God wants them to do? The Bible says, "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully" (1 Timothy 5:15). ("guide" = oikodespoteo, "to be the head of a family" in the sense that she "runs the business of the family." Though her husband is the head of the house, she runs the day-to-day affairs of the household. This takes skill, industry and training.) Older women are to "teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:3-5). ("keepers" = oikouros, from oikos (a dwelling, house) and ouros (a guard; be "ware"); a stayer at home, domestically inclined (a "good housekeeper"))

. . . Keeps Company With a Bad Brother

"He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster" (Proverbs 18:9). "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious" (Proverbs 12:27). These verses are saying that a slothful man fails to use his advantages. The diligent may not have much, but he makes good use of what he has. A fool many have more, but he can't keep it. The dollar he wastes is sure to be gained by a wiser person.

From the Prodigal (This word means "wasteful.") Son (Luke 15:11-32) we gain three key economic thoughts: (1) "wasted his substance" (2) "when he had spent all" and (3) "began to be in want." It works that way. Waste and want belong together and cannot be separated long. If money runs through our pockets like water through a sieve, then we should not be surprised to find our wallets usually empty. This boy learned in the School of Hard Knocks, but the tuition was awfully high. By the time he got back home, ragged and tattered with his stomach pulled in against his backbone, he was not wanting to give any lectures on finance nor on what he perhaps had once thought was the old man's penny-pinching ways. (Brownlow, Leroy. Living on the Plus Side of Life.) This applies in practical terms to saving food leftover from one meal to use at another (cf. John 6:12), saving articles for reuse instead of discarding them, using coupons or sales when possible and putting aside a portion of the salary each week for savings instead of "blowing" the surplus. Solomon said, "There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up" (Proverbs 21:20). It also implies taking care of property by cautious use, regular cleaning and immediate repair. For instance, becoming a homeowner brings with it the responsibility to keep it up. Scripture warns, "By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through" (Ecclesiastes 10:18). Each of these adds to one's overall financial standing and enables one to give more to the Lord. A lazy man will never be a good giver (cf. Ephesians 4:28; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

Watch when you get up, what you eat and what goes in the trash can--these are the practical reminders of laziness.

Voluntry Inertia

By Allen Webster

One father told his little son that he couldn't go to worship because he was suffering from a severe case of voluntary inertia. "I bet you ain't," the little boy answered, "I bet you're just lazy."

Jesus, the Lord of the Harvest, always has positions available for workers. No one has an excuse to stand "idle in the marketplace" (Matthew 20:3), for there is "work to do, work on every hand." As long as there is a lost soul on earth (Luke 19:10; Mark 16:15-16), as long as there is one needy person (James 1:27), as long as there is breath in our lungs to praise the Father (Isaiah 38:18; 1 Peter 2:5, 9), our work is not done.

To cut away the nice verbiage and get to the truth, some Christians are going to be lost on Judgment Day because they are lazy. Some are standing on the promises, others only sitting on the premises. No Christian should be satisfied to just be a name on a roll. Each should be a hand in the work. Fill a place--not just a space.

The Book says, "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11; Hebrews 6:12). Martin Luther said, "If I rest, I rust." Leonardo da Vinci observed, "Iron rust from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so inaction saps the vigor of the mind." George Whitefield quipped, "It is better to wear out than to rust out."

[Editor's Note: A young family man, an elder's son, recently said to me: "If one lives a righteous life, he can rest for eternity!" I like that. Work for the Lord tirelessly now, rest later after this life is over. There is much to be done and it will only be accomplished if Christians do it. ler]

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