Most of us who enjoy working and being productive avoid or have a certain amount of contempt for those who are “lazy.” It is very difficult for me to enjoy or be in their company. In fact, if possible, I’ll do whatever is necessary to avoid any association with them. How or when this behavior began in me or others may be a mystery. However, it was also a problem for Solomon. There are twelve references in Proverbs that address the dangers of laziness. It’s a familiar theme that runs throughout his writings. Perhaps it was a warning to his sons. Or, it may have troubled him when he saw his “employees” trying to get out of their responsibilities and take a nap.
“Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry,” he wrote. Notice how one contributes to the other because laziness is, according to Solomon, self-perpetuating. It actually does seem to go in a circle: A person does not do anything because he is lazy. And, if one is lazy and does nothing, the best option for that person is to sleep. So, laziness brings on sleep because of feelings that are the result of not doing anything. Sleep is a habit of those who are lazy and want to take the easy way out of living and working for a living.
Here’s Solomon’s circle: the choice to be lazy is a conscious one that arises from an attitude that one can’t do anything or can’t find anything to do. Either one comes from a choice that is self-centered and results in a state of powerlessness, self-pity and self-defeating behaviors. It is not what God intended when He created mankind. He intended mankind to work in His garden, and in turn, glorify Him for His gift: the ability and talents to work.
Note the word “shiftless.” A “shiftless worker” is one whose work is “half-hearted” and has a poor work ethic. The “shiftless worker” produces an inferior and unacceptable product. Neither head nor heart is involved - they are elsewhere. Soon, they’ll be hungry.
Prayer: Lord, may we delight in work. May we seek it and do our work well, and honor You by being faithful, diligent, committed, and doing our “work” right. Bless us in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 19:15 Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.