I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down … A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest…
Imagine driving down the road and coming to a house that is broken down and overgrown with weeds. First, you assume that no one lives there. But then you see someone through a broken window. You wonder if the owner is sick and unable to care for the property. Then they wander outside and they look full of health. It turns out that they are simply lazy.
That, of course, is the scene described in this proverb: a sluggard lives on the land, and his vineyard is a testimony to his laziness.
Sluggards don’t set out with the desire to live in poverty and disgrace. Rather, when challenged with work, their attitude is marked by key characteristics that many of us may find in our own lives if we are willing to gaze into the mirror of God’s word.
A sluggard doesn’t merely enjoy his bed; he is hinged to it, making a lot of movement but no progress towards anything substantial (Proverbs 26:14). He never flat-out refuses to do anything. Rather, he just puts off tasks bit by bit, moment by moment, and deceives himself into thinking he will get around to them.
A sluggard is also masterful at making excuses. Possessing no mind to work, she always finds reasons to continue in her idleness. There is nothing difficult about taking out the overflowing trash bag, but the sluggard will rationalize her failure to follow through on even the simplest of duties.
Sluggards will, quite ironically, always be hungering for fulfillment, because, by virtue of their posture of heart, they never find it. It’s always “out there somewhere,” but it’s never realized. The souls of sluggards crave and gets nothing, not because they can’t but because they won’t. In their overabundance of rest, they are restless.
When laziness comes to mark our existence, we may convince ourselves that we really are prepared to run ten miles, start writing that paper, or finish that project—but we are only living in the realm of imagination until our reality is changed by God’s power and grace.
Beware of looking at idleness as some sort of minor detail or small problem. Laziness is not an infirmity. It is a sin. Little by little it can affect the whole of our lives, growing with unperceived power—and Satan is longing to lull us into defeat. In what ways are you tempted to be lazy? What are you putting off or making excuses for, and why? Will you confront this sin and ask God to help you deal with it ruthlessly, immediately, and consistently?
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.