Every year in my Entrepreneurship class I challenge my students to write down 5 core values to build their life upon. I show them mine but encourage them to have their own. I have them type them out and post them on their vision board, their phone, or a
ny place that is special to them. I do the same. Core values are so important to possess as an individual. These standards allow you to filter many major life decisions through and build a strong foundation to stand upon. One of mine is Hard Work. I can remember ever since I was a little child my mother taught me the importance of hard work. She instilled it in me as a little girl as I would travel with her to watch her clean houses and scrub floors all for a tiny amount of money just to make ends meet while my father was in and out of work.
We were a family of six and my mother did what she had to do without complaining. I had my first job when I was 12 and have worked multiple jobs at one time since then. Although I haven’t been very wise when it comes to my spending habits, I have seen the LORD take care of me FAITHFULLY. I believe because God honors those who work. Hard work is embedded within God’s character.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Work was something that was created in the very beginning before the fall of man. Before a woman was ever created God gave Adam work to accomplish.
Genesis 2:15 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Now ladies this doesn’t mean that we are off the hook because in the following verse after God gives Adam the word, He then creates us. The point is work has been around since the beginning of time. The bible has many positive verses about hard work and diligence but it also warns us about its opposite: laziness or slothfulness. After reading these gems I have to admit I was convicted about my own slothfulness in certain areas of my life. That is the beauty of God’s word he convicts us but always with specifics. First let’s explore the characteristics of laziness. It’s interesting to note that the first set of verses fall in the context of foolishness. Foolish decisions lead to lazy living.
Proverbs 6:6-11 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
1. Laziness doesn’t consider or self-reflect.
It is so funny how God uses the lowest insect on the food chain to teach the sluggard a lesson. Solomon who wrote most of the book of Proverbs, urges the sluggard to CONSIDER the ways of this insect. The sluggard needs to be schooled. Solomon pleads with him to think about, observe, watch and learn wisdom from this insect. Unless we set ourselves to consider others,
diligently do what they do, so we may do likewise, we set ourselves up for failure. Ask anybody who is successful and they will tell you consider the company you keep. Consider the habits you form or have formed. Consider if this is working or not. Consider your words. Consider how these choices will impact others. Consider your audience. Consider if this glorifies GOD. A lackadaisical mindset only considers itself.
2. Laziness needs constant supervision.
Solomon first points out the fact that the ant works without supervision. There is no King Kong ant standing over another ant telling it to pick up this or go store that. Hard work without supervision is the character if I may of the ant. How about us, when our boss turns his back can he trust us to complete our responsibilities or would he find us on our phones? Or if we are self-employed do we put in an honest work
for an honest day’s wages or do we steal God’s time wasting it on distractions from what our purpose is?
Colossians 3:23-24 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
3. Laziness doesn’t store up provisions for the present or the future.
This ant is on its grind. It’s the dead of summer, it’s hot yet he still stacks provisions for the present and the future in mind. He’s not taking any breaks because it’s hot. He is plowing and storing through inconveniences. We must keep the present time in mind, as well as prepare for the hereafter, not only physically but as well as spiritually. The ant takes advantage of every opportunity to work and so should we. Jesus said in John 12:35, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.”
We are to walk while we have the light, and seize every opportunity. We are only on this planet for a short time but yet we live as though tomorrow is promised.
Proverbs 20:4 Sluggards do not
plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing”
The question on the floor is, what are we storing up for the future, provisions for our flesh or treasures in heaven? Proverbs 13:4 “The sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”
4. Laziness needs to be challenged.
Solomon continues in Proverbs 6:9-11, “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest- and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”
Solomon challenges the sluggard to wake up and consider the amount of time wasted laying there. How long will you waste time? How long will you love ease and comfort? The lazy person lives in their comfort zone. But God’s word calls us out of our comfort zones.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. ...
What is interesting in these verses is that we are commanded to keep away from those who walk in idleness. Many successful people agree that you become like the top five people you spend the most time with. If you want to be successful you need to hang out with people who make diligence their lifestyle. As Christians we should be an example to others of what hard work looks like, notice how the author goes on to state if anyone is not willing to work, let them not eat…..
5. Laziness needs constant rest.
In Proverbs 6:9-11 it mentions sleep and slumber three times. When an author repeats something over and over they are trying to get their point across. Laziness always needs to take a break. If you’d ever had the opportunity to work with someone who is slothful it can be very frustrating. When only one person is pulling their weight on a job it can feel like you are dragging dead weight around. How about on a sports team, years ago I played competitive soccer and the player who slacked the most affected all of the other team mates in a negative way.
Proverbs 10:26 “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so are sluggards to those who send them.
Yes it is important to rest, because even God created the seventh day for rest. But rest one day out of the week not 5. If you find yourself needing to take constant breaks, maybe it is time for a new job or a new perspective.
6. Laziness results in scarcity and poverty.
This principle applies for multiple settings in life. If you aren’t growing forward you are going backward or are in a holding pattern. When you live life in a state of neglect, you will suffer from poverty. Whether that is neglecting of your finances, your business, your family, your health, or most importantly your relationship with God. Spiritual poverty is the worst state to be in. Moses understood this when he prayed in Exodus 33:15, then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.
I challenge each of us to survey our lives and take note of any area that we sense impoverishment, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any slothful attitude or action that we have done to create that. As He does reveal, let us repent and ask God to quicken us with new grace and energy to put our hand to the plow and grow forward. As a disclaimer sometimes trials we go through have nothing to do with us or our actions but they are painful circumstances, outside of our control, allowed by God, to mold and shape our character. If
this is the case then I encourage you to read and reflect on James 1.
7. Laziness abandons responsibilities and leaves opportunities for the enemy to attack.
Proverbs 24:30-31 “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns, the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.”
We all have been entrusted with a lot in life, a field of influence so to speak, things that God has appointed us responsible for. For some of us it is a marriage or family. For some it is a circle of influence. For some of us it is a platform. For others, it might be financial or material blessings to manage or steward over. But for the sluggard his field is over grown, crowded, with no vision. And because of the sluggard’s lack of self-control and neglect, his stone wall is broken down which leaves whatever was in his field open to a spiritual attack. A wise pastor once told me that most of the anxiety we experience in life is due to a lack of us not tending to our responsibilities. When we neglect what has been entrusted to us, it is evidence that we have a slothful mindset which leaves “our field of influence” vulnerable to an attack. That husband is a gift, that wife is a gift, those children are all gifts from God. That job is a gift. Those students you coach, those people you manage, that talent or influence God gave you have all been entrusted to you to tend to and to protect. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gift from God we can’t afford to be slothful! The next generation is depending on us to pass the baton of faith! The sluggard abandons responsibility and therefore loses the lot God entrusted to him or her.
8. Laziness lives in a state of fear and excuses.
Proverbs 22:13 “The sluggard says, ‘There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!”
Notice the irrational excuses and fear the sluggard lives in. As Christians we are to walk by faith not by fear. The bible says do not fear over 365 times. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Sluggards make excuses as to why they can’t do something. This week I challenge each and every one of us to take inventory of all the excuses we tell ourselves and to repent and ask God to fill us with faith to accomplish all that He has for us.
9. Laziness is resistant to wise counsel.
Proverbs 26:16 “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly.”
The sluggard has a stubborn disposition about themselves. Seven people could give the same godly advice but yet they still believe they are wiser in their own eyes.
1 Corinthians 3:18 “Let no man deceive himself if any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.”
When you refuse to sit under the word of God or be held accountable to the people of God, you are being wise in your own eyes. You are operating in self-deception. A truly wise diligent man or woman remains under the counsel and the wisdom of God. The slothful doesn’t put in the work and deceives themselves into thinking they are indeed wise.
Whether we see ourselves in some of these points or all of them, the good news is that we serve a merciful and grace giving God who is eager and willing to forgive us and empower us to walk diligently and make the most of our time here on earth. I pray that each and every one of us will answer the call to work hard in life and discipline ourselves daily to labor diligently!
Heavenly Father I ask that you forgive us of our slothfulness. Forgive us for our neglect of what has been entrusted to us. Forgive us for being wise in our own eyes and not heeding your word. Forgive our excuses Lord and remove them far from us in the mighty name of Jesus. Empower us Lord to be men and women of diligence, who represent you well on earth. Grant us new energy. Slay that slothful attitude and work ethic within us. Give us daily discipline to accomplish your priorities and tasks. Teach us to number our days so that we may obtain a heart of wisdom. Lord help us to be good stewards of all that you have entrusted to us. Help us Father God to self-reflect and know that we work for you and represent you. Lord please empower every person who reads this blog to labor in your strength and to give you all the glory. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray! Amen, amen, amen!
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As always Rock Ya Faith!
being wise in our own eyes and not heeding your word. F