I have never even pretended to be organized and have never acknowledged myself as diligent, diligence has been a lifelong struggle for me. I am that crazy, go-with-the-flow, hippie, free spirited girl that is constantly getting distracted by everything under the sun. But a sluggard? The name sounds so harsh and mean… me? A Sluggard? Isn’t that the guy that wont even bring his food to his mouth(Proverbs 19:24), I mean, I may have my lazy times but I can sure put that chocolate into my mouth! And who would ever want to be anything that sounds like a slug? Not me, that’s for sure.
The dictionary describes a sluggard as someone who is habitually lazy. How often does that describe most of Americans in the 21st century? How often does that describe ourselves? When looking into my own life I see that far too often I have the character traits of a sluggard. I decided to take a little study of the sluggard as the Bible describes him, these are the “qualifications”:
- He/she sleeps instead of works: (Proverbs 6:6-11 and 26:14) Sleeping isn’t a bad thing. C.J. Mahaney talks about sleep being a way to keep us humble. Our bodies need sleep and we can not function without it. But when we are lazy about our sleeping is when it becomes sluggardly. Are we sleeping, relaxing, or resting when there is work that needs to be done? If so the Bible says that we will end up poor and in want.
- He/she craves and does not receive: (Proverbs 13:4) Obviously some cravings (especially sinful ones) we shouldn’t receive, but here it’s talking about wanting things in general. It says that the sluggard is always in want but he never gets anything. Why is this? Because he doesn’t work for it. He sees something he wants but instead of working for it and pursuing it like the diligent man, he doesn’t do anything and therefor does not get anything.
- He/she starts something and does not finish: (Proverbs 19:24 and 26:15) I think that this is what the Bible is saying when they say that he buries his hand in the dish but doesn’t put the food in his mouth. We have the thinking part of ideas and plans, the relatively easy part, and maybe even start it, but we do not press on as to actually finish what we started. (This has been a lifelong struggle for me. From craft projects, writing projects, school stuff, ministry ideas, and all sorts of things; I have had a hard time finishing what I’ve started.)
- He/she doesn’t realize the theory of “consequences”: (Proverbs 20:4 and 21:25) This is similar to point two. He/she does not understand that if they work they do not get food or anything else they desire. In our world of easy entitlements most people think that they deserve all the blessings in life without any (or little) of the work. In truth, if you don’t work hard for something, you may still get it but it wont be as rewarding. Also, if you have something and don’t work to keep it, you will most likely lose it.
- He/she has lame excuses: (Proverbs 26:13) He cries out that some lion is at the gait and makes it an excuse for being lazy and unproductive. Instead of facing the challenges he faces and getting past them, or even if they can’t be solved, working around them, he does not. Instead he puts things off in order to be lazy or even just for comfort’s sake.
These are some of the main points I’ve found in Proverbs that mention those that are slothful, lazy, and the sluggard. When looking at these qualifications and looking at my own life, I see far too many resemblances and it frightens me. I want to be the wise woman who is diligent and serves the Lord with ferocity but who I see when I look at my heart and lifestyle is a slothful fool. And that is who I am by myself. I myself am a loathsome, pitiful person not worthy of anything. But God decided to come and give me worth and He desires me to become that wise and diligent woman who can serve Him faithfully. My tool for this task: the very blood of Christ.
So right now I’m working on attacking the sluggard within my soul for the purpose of serving and glorifying God better. When sharing a big dream I had with my dad a few months ago he pointed me back to the fact that if I want to do that someday I have to start working towards that now in the little ways like school. I am reminded of the story of the servants who were faithful with little and were shown to be faithful over much. I do not want to be that slothful and lazy servant but I want to hear from my Savior that I have served Him well.
In the next few weeks or so I’ll try to keep you updated about my journey with this as I try to restructure my life to no longer include the sluggard inside. Hopefully this will provide me with accountability as well. How about you that ? Do you see the character qualities of a sluggard in your life? What are you going to do about it? Any ideas and advice from those of you who have attacked this enemy in the past and conquered it?