Today's Insight from Chuck Swindoll

A young fellow entered a convenience store and asked to use the phone. The manager overheard his side of the conversation as he asked, “Sir, could you use a hardworking, honest young man to work for you?” (pause) “Oh, you’ve already got a hardworking, honest young man? Well, thanks anyway!”

The boy hung up the phone with a smile and turned to leave, humming a happy tune.

“How can you be so cheery?” asked the eavesdropping manager. “I thought the man you talked to already had someone and didn’t want to hire you.”

The young fellow answered, “Well, you see, I am the hardworking young man. I was just checking up on my job!”

If someone asked your boss about your position and your performance, what do you think the response would be? Would your boss say you are hardworking? Not if you have these two final attributes of a lazy person:

  1. The sluggard is a quitter.

A lazy man does not roast his prey,
But the precious possession of a man is diligence. (12:27)

This colorful saying reveals another telltale mark of laziness: a lack of thoroughness. The lazy person:

  • Likes to catch fish, but doesn’t clean them.
  • Loves to eat, but hates doing the dishes.
  • Doesn’t mind painting a room, but leaves the cleanup to others.
  • Prefers nice possessions, but fails to care for them properly.

Sluggards can’t be bothered with details because they’re satisfied with the bare minimum. Excellence ranks low on their list of priorities.

  1. The sluggard lives by excuses.

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside;
I will be killed in the streets!” (22:13)

This saying always makes me smile. Those lions in the street are nothing more than a fertile imagination gone to seed. Later in the book of Proverbs, the “lion”’ returns:

The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
A lion is in the open square!”
As the door turns on its hinges,
So does the sluggard on his bed. (26:13–14)

These proverbs use a figure of speech called hyperbole, a humorous, outrageous image that illustrates a valid point. The first hyperbole demonstrates the ridiculous lengths to which a lazy person will go to avoid work. The sluggard will capitalize on any excuse, no matter how unlikely or irrational. The second proverb illustrates the only possible result of the lazy person’s nature. Bound by hinges, a door has a limited range of motion: a door can do nothing else but swing open and shut. So also the lazy person: a sluggard’s nature allows no action beyond the bed.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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