Most people I know would never call themselves lazy, even if they knew they were. It is just not a good label to wear.
We consider a sluggish, slothful individual a lazy one. So, what does that look like?
Have you ever known a person who just laid around all day and did absolutely nothing? They refuse to work, they do not tend to their children in a responsible manner, and/or they do not practice proper hygiene. A lazy person will also sit back and watch others do all the hard work, but believe they are owed the same thing the hard workers are given. This type of person has a slothful spirit.
In Proverbs chapter 6, the Bible teaches us about the ways of the hard-working ant. I believe by using the ant, Jesus wanted us to see that it does not matter the size or status of an individual, we all can and are expected to work in some way. Another scripture that reminds us of work, comes from the discussion in James 2:14-26, where we are taught that faith without works is dead.
Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. James 2:26 NLT
So, how then can we expect to receive what we desire if we are unwilling to work for it?
The Bible is also clear that every person will give an account for his/her works (or in the case of the sluggard, the lack of works).
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:10-12 NIV
Imagine if the entire world operated in slothfulness. We would have unsanitary hospitals as well as unclean churches and restaurants. Banks would have tellers who are too lazy to double check if they gave you the right amount of money. People would arrive late for work in addition to every other event if they even arrived at all. What a messy world we would be living in, right?
The truth is God requires us to work diligently, to be clean inside and out, and to take good care of the things He has blessed us with. Unless a person has some type of mental or medical condition that truly stops them from getting up, working, and taking care of him/herself, he/she should do so. Having a mindset of slothfulness is not at all how God intended for His people to be and I personally believe this type of mindset must be prayed away.
Well, the examples above are how the natural world could be affected by a slothful state. But have you thought about what affects slothfulness could have on our spiritual state of being?
When we become slothful in areas like fasting and prayer or our worship of Jesus, we can easily fall short in many areas of our life. We also miss blessings and opportunities to be a light to others because we are not drawing our motivation from a healthy spiritual life. Oftentimes I have found it easier to say a quick, short prayer, read a short scripture, and then climb into bed instead of devoting more of my time to feeding my spirit man the Word of God.
While on this walk with Christ, we must discipline ourselves to study the Word (2 Timothy 1:7), pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and be obedient to the Word (James 1:2), even when we don’t physically or mentally feel like doing so. Whenever we do not commit ourselves fully to God and His will, we can begin to behave as the sluggard. We will find ourselves making up excuses for why we are not doing what we could be doing, and we will have the tendency to procrastinate on doing the things we know we should be doing.
Full transparency. As I type this blog post, I am looking at a pile of books and a stack of papers on my desk that need to be put away or shredded. I keep telling myself that I will get to them as soon as I complete another task, but really I am just making an excuse for not doing it. I am also guilty of putting off to the last minute writing papers for class as well as writing this blog post.
Although we can easily make up excuses for why we do, or should I say, do not do the things we should, remember we will still have to give an account one day as to why. I do not believe that God is pleased with us when we are simply lazy. Slothfulness is a sin that we must repent from like any other sin.
Do you remember the story of Mary and Martha? If not, you can read about them in Luke 10:38-42. Basically, Jesus was visiting their home and Martha was worried about serving their guests and annoyed that Mary was not working as hard as her. So, she brought it to Jesus’ attention. (As funny as that sounds, we can also be like Martha, worrying ourselves about what others or doing or not doing, but caught up in doing too much ourselves. Honestly, this type of behavior is just as bad as being slothful.)
But I digress.
Though Martha was clearly upset, Jesus did not see the situation the same as her. Jesus did not see Mary’s current behavior as lazy, but as attentive and He acknowledged it.
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 NLT
Though Martha was working perhaps a little too hard and Mary was taking a break from working, they both were active.
Colossians 3:23 states:
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. NLT
Now I agree that we all get tired, probably more so now during this pandemic and self-isolation, but we must use wisdom and balance our lives so that we give time and attention to what is critical. That could include chores, managing finances, taking care of children, self-care, and/or tending to our physical and mental health. It should also include our spiritual health. All of these areas are important. God wants us to be well rounded in our efforts.
God’s true desire is for us to have faith in Him that He will make things happen, but He also desires for us to work alongside Him to make it happen. Friend always remember the ant. Ants work hard in advance to have what they will need later. And like the ant, we too must get up even when we do not want to and put in the work that will reap true reward.
Melody is the founder of M.O.R.E. – Mothers Overcoming Real-life Experiences. You can follow her at https://www.facebook.com/groups/wearemore2gether/ on Facebook or @moreofmelody on Instagram.
Check out her contribution to this brand-new book: 20 Beautiful Women: 20 More Stories that will Heal Your Soul, Ignite Your Passion, and Inspire Your Divine Purpose – Melody Hansley. Available at amazon.com.
Scripture taken from NLT and NIV
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.