Everything in our society points us toward believing work is evil. We dread Mondays, find hope in Wednesdays (#HumpDay) and live for Fridays (#TGIF!). For some reason, we're stuck in this pattern of believing work is a bad thing.
This week in our Proverbial Fool series, we're taking a look at the lazy fool - the sluggard.
WEEK 2: THE LAZY FOOL
In Proverbs 6:6-11, Solomon says, "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? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep-So shall poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man."
Clearly, Solomon thought there was something wrong with being a sluggard. He instructs us to use ants as an example for how we should live. Ants do their work efficiently, without instruction, without anyone to praise them for their good work. Yet many people fall into the trap of becoming a lazy fool. They are idle, and they don't accomplish much at all, if anything.
To add to laziness, the sluggard is full of excuses for his unwillingness to work (Proverbs 26:13-16), he has the resources, but refuses to use them (Proverbs 20:4) and stewards his resources poorly (Proverbs 24:30-31). He has fields, he has opportunity, he has time, he has physical ability, but the sluggard doesn't use these gifts wisely.
Can you think of areas in your family or your job where you just do the bare minimum to get by, but don't truly put as much effort in as you should? Do you push the snooze button too many times in the morning? Do you go to work just for the paycheck, but not to make any real difference? Do you have the time, money, or energy to do more, and choose not to use them wisely? Maybe God has even been convicting you of laziness in your life lately!
A NEW OUTLOOK ON WORK
As we said earlier, we have pretty much been trained to believe that we shouldn't enjoy work. At some point, we starting thinking that work was a result of the fall - that it's not a good thing and that it's some sort of punishment for our sinfulness. This is just not true.
In Genesis 2:15, 19-20, before the fall ever happened, God gave Adam work! God intended for us to use our hands. We were meant to work and to not be sluggards. In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, the Thessalonian church is instructed to work with their hands. Idle hands leave room for temptation and disruption.
"Laziness could run a competitive race for the most underrated sin. Quietly it anesthetizes its victims into a lifeless stupor that ends in hunger, bondage, and death." -Ronald Sailler and David Wyrtzen
The whole point of this series is to learn how to walk in wisdom by applying the fear of the Lord. In order to avoid becoming the sluggard, we should examine the heart behind everything we do.
Do everything for God's glory
Colossians 3:22-24 - "Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."
Sometimes, we get in the habit of only doing our best so others will notice us. It could be for a promotion or a raise, or even just to get a pat on the back. But everything we do should be to bring God glory and it should be done out of reverence for him.
Reflect God through your work
Titus 2:9-10 - "Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."
By working hard, you can actually show Jesus in the workplace. Isn't that so cool?
Redeem your time
Ephesians 5:14-17 - "Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light" See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
This passage in Ephesians is a great reminder that these days are evil. They are working against us, and we should spend every moment redeeming the time, bringing God glory, and walking in His will.