Prov. 6:6-9; 24:30-34; 20:4
Boy, the book of Proverbs covers a lot of different subjects, huh? Money, family, emotions, the tongue, sexual purity, and a lot more. But for the next couple of days we’re going to tackle a real sore spot for me, because it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. If you’ve read the passages already then you know I’m talking about laziness. I get today’s title from what I have to tell myself in the mornings, because I hate having to get out of bed before I have to.
I don’t know if it’s come through during the last six weeks, but I love the book of Proverbs. I mentioned it before, and I meant it: If I had to pick one favorite book out of the O. T., this would be it. But Solomon really hammers it on laziness, and that’s something I’ve struggled with as far back as I can remember. It’s only through the intervention of Christ himself working in me that I’m not worse than I am.
So what’s a “sluggard,” anyway? It’s a person who’s naturally lazy, who wants to get by with the least amount of work, and who loves sleep. If no one forces him to, he’ll never advance in the world. I find it interesting that the author takes the creature at the top of the food chain (us) and points us to one of the creatures near the bottom (ants). As the first passage points out, they’re always working. But what else do we see about this little guy? 1) He doesn’t have to have someone constantly looking over him in order to get him to work. Some bosses, if asked if X works at his company, might have to respond “That depends on whether or not I'm here.” But not the ant’s boss! An ant puts out the same output whether he’s watched or not. 2) He’s a fortune teller. That’s right, he actually sees in the future. He can look ahead and say “If I don’t work now, I don’t eat later.” Amazing trick, huh?
Boy, that Texas weather is something, right? It'll rain and and rain and rain for days on end, and then suddenly we have warm weather for months. It’s pretty useful sometimes, however. It was a handy excuse not to mow my lawn, and then the next thing I knew, my yard was a jungle. My dogs had to skip through my back yard in order to do their business. But according to Proverbs, laziness’s consequences are like that: They sneak up on you, and you might face something worse than a bad-looking yard. Look at the image presented in 24:34—“poverty” is waiting ahead. Just like a mugger, it doesn’t announce its intentions in advance. But then “suddenly” (but not really) you’ve been “robbed” by massive credit card debt, unpaid bills, and not-so-polite phone calls.
And the really frustrating thing is, I know how this ends, so I can’t claim it’s really a surprise for me. The ant knows the future, so I have no excuse. It’s actually a little funny: I neglect to “plow in season,” and then “look” for a harvest. Well, genius, the harvest doesn’t come by way of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, so why were you surprised? What exactly did you think was going to happen?
If you’re reading this, and you’re actually a workaholic, then we’ll talk later. And I have to remind myself--as well as anyone else out there who’s stung by these words--that there’s grace. Even for sluggards. But just like with A. A., it starts with admitting you have a problem. Hello, my name is Keith. . .
Father, this is a real problem for me. Please forgive and restore and change. By your grace, I can change, cant’ I?