A Sermon on Slothfulness

TRANSCRIPT: “A very special good morning each and every one of you, I would invite you to open up your Bibles to Book of Proverbs, we’re going to be in chapter six. As we begin, this one will be in Proverbs quite a bit. We’ll be out of Proverbs a little bit, but most of our time will be in that book. So go ahead and open up to that. I want to also be the first person to wish you hopefully the first person to wish you a happy holiday week. This is a holiday week that I know lots of people are celebrating all around the country. And before you ask, no, I don’t mean the holiday on Tuesday, I’m talking about Super Bowl Sunday. That is the holiday that most of us are celebrating, I will try to refrain from making any chiefs-related pro chiefs-related statements, because I know that we can cause division, just about as fast as anything else. But I think we’re all anti-Eagles fans. So that makes sense to us. I want to begin by asking another question, we’ll make everybody uncomfortable. I want to ask about this morning show of hands. How many people here would consider themselves lazy? Go ahead and raise your hand or don’t I guess if you if you’re lazy, you can raise your hand? I’ll be honest, I really didn’t expect anybody to raise their hands. I did see a couple of hands. I won’t say who it was. That question was honestly just to kind of see your reaction to me. Because when you ask somebody or you accuse somebody, or you think of yourself as being lazy, the response is almost just offensive. The idea that I would be called lazy the idea that I would call anybody here lazy, it just we just recoil. And I don’t know if that’s a human thing, or if that’s an American thing. But the idea of us not kind of pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps and working 25 hours a day, that just doesn’t appeal to a lot of us. We pride ourselves on being busy. We pride ourselves on always being in motion, we pride ourselves on always having something to do with our hands always doing something. And I think that can be good up until a certain point. I think that can also be destructive to a certain point when certain things kind of take priorities. But the idea of being lazy, it’s just something that we really don’t, we don’t really like and enjoy. I think it’s interesting though, when you consider the idea of how lots of over history how people have perceived laziness is because the idea of somebody not doing anything, the idea of somebody kind of just sitting in their arm chair, obviously they didn’t have arm chairs and TVs 2000 years ago, but the idea of just sitting in your armchair watching TV that was perceived as kind of the ideal for some reason I always think of the cartoon, Garfield the cat, the idea of the big orange cat that just sits nits was on you all day. That in a lot of people’s minds is the ideal because for history’s purposes that symbolized wealth, that symbolizes the idea that you are so powerful that you can just kind of have everybody do your work for you. But at least in today’s world, the idea of slothfulness, so the idea of laziness is not something that we aspire to. And I don’t think it’s anything the Bible wants us to aspire to. If you look for instance, in Proverbs chapter six, starting verse six, Solomon who arguably was one of the most I think, was the most wealthy king of all time, he had all this power all this money, and yet he’s still attached quite a bit of interest and importance rather to the idea of motion the idea of work, he says, for instance, Proverbs chapter six, go to the anto sluggard observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief officer ruler prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision the harvest How long will you lie down? Oh, sluggard. When will you then arise from you sleep, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest. And your poverty will then come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man. Solomon is very pragmatic. When he discusses this idea. He talks about the fact that if you’re slothful, if you’re lazy, and you keep kind of putting things off to the next day, then eventually that check is going to come do eventually those things that you kept kind of pushing off and pushing off down the road, eventually, the reality of it is going to hit you. And you’re gonna find yourself completely and woefully unprepared for the eventuality that arrives at your doorstep. And so Solman advises your Proverbs chapter six, go to the smallest of creatures of which there are plentiful, go to the smallest of creatures and examine how they operate. They operate number one without any kind of supervision whatsoever. They have the foresight to know and understand the seasons and the times, and they anticipate certain things. They don’t need to have a chief, they don’t have a ruler, they know that there are certain things that they need to do about their day. They also, as he talks about here, prepares in advance for those things. If I have the foresight and the understanding which all of us hopefully have been blessed with the foresight in the understanding to anticipate at least a moderate amount of things in the future, then I’m going to rightfully anticipate that that’s the basis of something like retirement savings. We all know that Lord willing, we will eventually reach prayerfully reach retirement age, we all anticipate that you might as well prepare for it. And that’s what he’s talking about. I’m not your financial adviser. That is a free piece of advice that I read about on the internet. But that is at least a little bit of weight talks about there in Proverbs chapter six, the anticipation of things. So when he talks about the sloth and the sloth is not a minor figure. If you look in the book of Proverbs, the idea of the sloth is repeated either alluded to or directly more than 14 times in the book of Proverbs. So Solomon anticipates that especially amongst his people, of being potentially a real problem. So what is the SWOT when you think about what a SWOT actually is? I think the best definition that I’ve read about it, at least in recent times, is it A person whose character is defined by inaction. Now, keep in mind when I’m not saying a swan, a sloth is not somebody who just wants to take a day off. A sloth is not somebody who’s worked all week, and I’m going to sit and binge watch NetFlix on Saturday, because after all put in the seven year workweek. That’s not a swath, that’s somebody who’s taken a day off, as well. It also is not somebody who is so wracked with feeling overwhelmed or discouragement or depression or anxiety that they really can’t move that’s doesn’t really define who they are. A sloth is somebody who very simply has the capabilities to move, there’s no real excuse, and chooses for whatever reason to not move, a person that could go out spiritually speaking, and evangelize, who could come to services who could read their Bible who could have a parallel, but they just choose that they would rather spend another hour on social media or something like that. A person whose character is defined by inaction. Look in Proverbs chapter 26. A few would you see a little bit more of this definition taking place here Proverbs chapter 26. It’s interesting how often he returns to the idea of a sloth in the book of Proverbs is almost as if he has a whole bunch of admonitions and things to say, and then he says, not like the SWOT, that’s kind of how he characterizes it. And probably chapter 26, starting verse 12, was how the book ends specifically on this passage, show up. He says, The problem start point six, verse 12, do you see a man wise in his own eyes, there is more hope for a fool than for him. I want you to ponder why he says that, especially given the context. Look at verse 13. The sluggard says there is a lion in the road, a lion is in the open square. Obviously, he’s just making excuses. As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed, the slugger, notice how the metaphor in the description intensifies the sluggard, buries his hand in the dish, and he is weary of bringing it to his mouth again, literally, I reached into the buffet line. And I didn’t have the willpower, or the strength or the fortitude to bring that scoop of mashed potatoes back to my table. I’m just standing there looking at it, because that’s all it is. I just don’t have the energy to bring that handout. That’s the description that he’s getting for here. But notice how he ends this in verse 16. He says in verse 16, the sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer. That’s the exact same way that you open that phrase with. And so the bookends of this description of the sloth in Proverbs chapter 26, begin and end with this idea of somebody who is so smart. They feel like they figured the whole world out that it is so much nicer in their eyes to not work because after all, it’s much better to have just stuff handed to you. And that’s why he says in verse 16, the swamp the sluggard is wiser in his own life than seven men who can give it a screen answer. I don’t need to know why I’ve sinned, I don’t need to know what I need to do. Because after all, I’m the smartest guy alive. Look at my life is full of leisure. It’s full of inaction. It’s full of comfort, it’s full of pleasure. A sloth is somebody whose life is defined by inaction. And as you look at the characteristics of the sloth here in Proverbs 15.6, you have somebody, for instance, who can’t be taught or proven anything wrong, they’re completely unreasonable, because after all, who’s going to argue with somebody whose life is filled with comfort, they resist any kind of unnecessary movement. They’re unable, as we mentioned a second ago to complete even a task. But they also make really lame excuses for their inaction. Why can’t go to bookstores today, because after all, there’s a lion in the middle the road, well, there’s not a lion. But as my mom used to say, if you don’t want to do something bad enough, any excuse is good enough. There’s not a reason why I can’t do something. I just, quite frankly, don’t want to do it. And I’ll make up any excuse to have for that. Let me reiterate the fact that there’s absolutely zero reason, when I talk about a swap, there is zero reason why a person can’t do these things. They just simply don’t want to. And I think there’s an attitude that’s at odds with God, when you look at this perspective, it’s not as if being slothful is just something that society looks down on. It’s not as if being slothful and lazy is something that we as Americans, and especially as Texans, we just don’t like that. That’s not really what’s at play here. Because the sloth in God’s eyes is somebody who’s really not going to go out and evangelize. The sloth is not somebody who’s going to try to make any effort to better themselves to drive forward towards God. They’re comfortable with how they are, they don’t want to move. And so the swab for instance, would say something like, Well, you know, that task that I have that I really need to get done, I’ll do that tomorrow. Because after all it why put off or why do today what can be put off till tomorrow? I’ll do that waiter. Notice what Solomon has seen Proverbs chapter 20, verse for the lazy one does not plow after the autumn. So he begs during the harvest and has nothing. There’s a there’s an order to life, I get up and I do these things. You get up you do these things, because at least in part, I’m understanding that the end of the week is going to come I get groceries on Monday because I know Friday, I’m going to be hungry. There’s an order to things. And this law for instance, looks in Proverbs chapter 20 Verse four, and says, Why would I do that now because after all I can do that later will eventually you string enough those days together.”

Last modified: February 13, 2023