Slothfulness

Prov 6:9-11
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

I want to talk to you for a few minutes about something that few people ever preach on: slothfulness, laziness. God’s word has a lot to say about slothfulness, especially in Proverbs. I’ve got a number of verses, and space does not permit me to take them one by one, so I am going to go through them quickly.

Prov 10:4-5
4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
5 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.

Prov 14:23
23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

Prov 15:19
19 The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

Prov 18:9
9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

Prov 21:25
25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

Prov 20:4
4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

Prov 22:13
13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

The man that is slothful is promised a rough way through life. He will not have the good things of life. He will not prosper. Only through diligence and attention to our work can we ever expect to succeed. Even Paul had something to say on the subject.

2 Thess 3:10
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

These are great life lessons, which all of us need to learn. Whether we are in an agrarian business, or an urban job, we must apply ourselves, or we will be out of a job. No one wants a slacker on the job. Every employer expects hard work out of his employees.

But I don’t believe that this is the point of all of these verses. God cares about our physical welfare, but he is going to provide for us all of our needs. We need to remember that the Old Testament is our schoolmaster. It gives material examples of spiritual truths. I believe that the main thing that God is addressing is spiritual slothfulness.

I want to zero in on two of the verses in Proverbs.

Prov 20:4
4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

This is an example that God gives us of a man that lets his personal comfort get in the way of his spiritual work. That comfort can be either spiritual or physical. How often do we say that its too hot, or too cold, or too rainy to go out witnessing? I know that I am guilty of that. What we have to determine is whether we believe that our comfort is more important than the souls of men or not.

But there is spiritual discomfort, also. We call this “getting out of your comfort zone.” Believe me, fair ministry can be far out of your comfort zone. But again, what is more important, your comfort or the souls of those people who Christ died for? God didn’t save us to sit in our air-conditioned houses and be comfortable. He commanded us to go and to tell others about him.

The other verse is

Prov 22:13
13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

This says to me that the man is afraid. What is he afraid of? Is there really a lion in the street? Though the devil is as a roaring lion, going about seeking whom he may devour, he is no danger to us. He is trying to devour those who are not diligently working for God. In fact, if you are not out trying to win people to Christ, he is devouring you! So, what do you have to be afraid of? God has not given us a spirit of fear.

Most people are afraid of rejection. That does hurt, at least at first, but if you realize that they are not rejecting you, but Jesus, then that hurt diminishes in a hurry. Many people are afraid that they won’t know what to say. God has promised that he will give us the words to speak. Some times, the strangest things come out of our mouths as we witness. If you are surrendered to the control of the Holy Spirit, he will give you the words. Another excuse is that people don’t know the right verses to give. You can be taught in five minutes the verses. That’s the easy part. If you don’t know how to witness to someone, I am sure that your pastor will be more than happy to teach you how. This is not rocket science. Even children can understand and tell the gospel. Surely you can.

I encourage you to have a vision of reaching souls for Jesus. Have a vision of going out and telling some people how they can go to heaven. It is the commandment of God that we do so. This is not the Great Suggestion. So, prepare yourself, and get out and witness. You will be glad that you did.

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