Thursday, September 3rd Proverbs 22:13

The lazy person says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” Proverbs 22:13

Lazy: (adj.) Disinclined to activity or exertion, not energetic or vigorous

The Bible does cut much slack for slackers. Laziness is not a Christian virtue.

God gave each of us gifts which all came with a string attached: Use as intended. Daily work, using our gifts, is God’s plan for daily bread. A healthy life is a balance of work, rest and play. Paul himself tells the Thessalonians, worried about how to deal with the laziness of some members of the community:

Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Proverbs captures well the justifications of those prone to laziness – excuse after excuse after excuse.

I well remember hearing my mom say two things. If she ever caught us sitting on the couch during a weekend day, she would say, “Don’t just sit there, do something!” She never ran out of suggestions of what needed to be done.

And I remember once seeing the Morris the Cat TV commercial, the finicky cat who was picky about its cat food – Mom saw that and said, “Don’t feed the %#!* cat for a couple of weeks and see what it eats then!” She had no idea she was quoting the Apostle Paul.

One word of caution: Unemployed does not equal lazy. There are millions of hard working people who have lost their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control. There are millions who live in pockets of economic inactivity where daily work is very difficult to find.

In fact, the depression and pain felt by the unemployed is about more than just the difficulty or impossibility of paying their bills. It is also fueled by their own God-given desire to use their gifts, make a difference, and be useful.

Clearly there is a big difference between our time and Paul’s. We’re long past the days of raising our own food and living off the land. It is hard to recreate a barter economy or just apply a skill and make a living. Hard…but not impossible. And far more likely for those who truly apply themselves and work hard.

Don’t just sit there. Do something.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, you saw Joseph hard at work as a carpenter. You learned at his side the value of hard work. We pray today for those who want to work but are still looking for jobs. We pray with gratitude for those who work hard creating businesses that employ others. Help us find the balance between rest and laziness and help us use well the gifts you have given us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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