Bible Study Helps and Lessons
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #81
#5 Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth
Scripture: Proverbs 6:6-9; 10:26; 13:4; 20:4; 26:14-16; Ecclesiastes 10:18; Matthew 25:14-30
This is part six of the “Seven Deadly Sins”. I wish to cover several scriptures that will hopefully give you a good idea of how God views laziness, especially from a spiritual standpoint. Zeal is the energetic response of the heart to God’s command. However, sin works to deaden the spiritual senses so we first become slow to respond to God and then drift completely into the sleep of complacency. Many Christians have fallen into complacency or “spiritual laziness” because of offenses, being tired of fighting or just “not having the time” to focus on God because of being too busy living. The end result, regardless of the reason, is the same – we get nothing done for God.
Most people think of sloth as laziness, not doing much of anything, but just sitting around doing nothing. Some stay busy most of the time, but don’t do the things they should, putting them off for later. They may actually be staying busy doing something they like so they can have an excuse. Webster defines sloth as “laziness; idleness…” Sloth is a kind of spiritual laziness (as opposed to mere physical fatigue or depression). It means not making it a priority to do what we should, or change what we should in ourselves. Some people might call it apathy, which means a lack of feeling.
Sloth is also quite possibly the main reason why people don’t read good spiritual books, especially their bibles. They will read Christian fiction and every other type of fiction/non-fiction books, but it is very hard for them to consistently read something to feed their spirits. So sloth is often disguised as calmness, serenity, keeping a level head, open mindedness, etc. If sloth is the reality, people will get very defensive. Or maybe not, for if the problem is sloth, it is too much effort to defend it. Let’s take a look at what Solomon says about the sluggard.
Proverbs 6:6-9 “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?” In the Old Testament, a sluggard is one who avoids the action that wisdom requires. In the scriptures we shall read in Proverbs, these terms present the negative side of an important wisdom opposition between slothfulness and diligence.
Proverbs 10:26 “Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy one to those who send him.” The sluggard is compared to vinegar and smoke. “As sour wine sets the teeth on edge or as the unripe grape is harmful to the teeth”. Pure vinegar on the teeth is considered to be harmful much like smoke is to the eyes.
Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.” In this verse Solomon says the sluggard has the wish, but not the will, and the empty wish without corresponding exertion is useless.
Proverbs 20:4 “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” During the time of the harvest, the sluggard does not plough. Just when the ground is most easily and profitably worked, the sluggard misses the opportunity because of his laziness.
Proverbs 26:14-16 “As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed.
The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; it wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can answer sensibly. The door moves on its hinges and makes no progress beyond its own confined sphere of motion. So it is with the slothful man who turns himself on his bed from side to side, but never leaves it to go to work. In verse 16, the sluggard is one who is too idle to think a matter out and considers his own superficial view as sure to be right.
Ecclesiastes 10:18 “Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks.” The subject of this verse is the state of the house. Under the image of a house which falls into ruin for a lack of needful repairs is signified the decay that surely overtakes a kingdom whose rulers are given up to indolence (idleness, laziness) and neglects to attend to the affairs which require prompt care. Our spiritual walk is described the same way. We must maintain what we have – keep it up. When we ignore God’s voice for so long we get to the point where we cannot hear Him at all.
I know some of you may struggle with what I am telling you, but go back and re-read it for yourself.
Are you starting to see where this is going? I will close this thought by just asking you to read Matthew 25:14-30 and really think about what this parable is saying to you. Which servant are you, one of the two who used their talents working for their master or the one who did nothing with what was entrusted to him? May God bless and keep you as you truly consider the answer to this question.
April 6, 2011