The Habit of Laziness
The Habit of Laziness
Once in a while all of us want to be “lazy”— even if just for a little bit: Do nothing. Veg on the couch. Stare at the TV screen without having to engage much of our body or mind.
Needing time to recover, decompress and renew isn’t true laziness. We all need rest, and our heavenly Father has modeled rest as a necessary practice that should not be overlooked or undervalued.
Resting involves ceasing, for a short period of time, from a season of activity and productivity.
Laziness, on the other hand, means “not being willing to work or use any effort” and “to be averse or disinclined to work.” Laziness is to be indifferent, passive, careless and slothful with the work or task at hand.
Most of us have been guilty of the sin of laziness (sloth) at one time or another, but how many of us understand the serious nature and the damaging effect of laziness both in our personal and professional lives?
God’s Word addresses laziness quite a bit, and there is no beating around the bush.
Laziness brings about poverty
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son” (Proverbs 10:4-5).
“Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15 (ESV)).
In Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 21:5 and Proverbs 10:4 God’s Word uses diligence as the opposite of laziness. Diligence means “being constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything.”
Ask yourself: Am I a diligent leader, employee, spouse, parent? Or, are there areas where laziness has quietly crept in and is slowly wreaking havoc in my personal and professional life? How is my laziness affecting my team, co-workers or family?
Laziness ignores the mundane and steady
All of us desire to be a part of something big, something that matters, something that’s greater than ourselves. This tendency to dream big and to focus on the next new shiny opportunity causes us to ignore this one basic principle outlined in God’s Word: steady plodding.
Proverbs 21:5 tells us, “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty” (TLB).
Steady plodding recognizes that for any idea, plan or goal to come to fruition, many mundane, constant, seemingly “boring” and repetitive acts are required. It takes time and patience!
Laziness overlooks the importance of the mundane and steady, rushes to premature conclusions and chaotically chases the “new and better,” because laziness is addicted to the “always dream big” way of thinking.
Lazy parenting gives up on the slow and steady training of children. Lazy leadership changes directions and strategies while ignoring the need for slow and steady plodding. Lazy work cuts corners and procrastinates.
Here is an example of ignoring steady plodding from the Scriptures: “I passed by the field of a sluggard…and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man” (Proverbs 24:30-35 (ESV)).
Described here is a lazy farmer who took the first step of planting seeds and who probably was dreaming and envisioning an incredible harvest! Unfortunately, he ignored the needed, repetitive process of weeding and tending of the field. The result was a field full of weeds and thorns. Beginning something is easy. Dreaming is easy. Carrying plans and goals to completion requires many steady, mundane and repetitive acts mixed in with a good measure of accountability.
Ask yourself: How am I doing with the slow and steady? Are there areas where my ignoring and underestimating the mundane and routine is hurting my family, employees, co-workers? What can I do to change?
Laziness gets caught up in dreaming and wishing
There is nothing wrong with dreaming about the future. There is nothing wrong with great visions and stretch goals. God’s Word warns us, however, that laziness is satisfied with constant dreaming, craving, hoping and wishing that does not lead to action and accountability.
Proverbs 13:4 warns, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
Proverbs 21:25 says, “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.”
Ask yourself: Where am I caught up in constant wishing, craving, desiring and hoping without applying diligence and hard work toward those hopes and dreams? How can I move from dreaming and desiring to diligence, work and accountability in those areas?
There are no shortcuts, no fast-track five-step plans to combat laziness. Laziness is something we tend to see more in others than in ourselves. In this new year, consider evaluating your personal and professional life to see if the sin of sloth may be impacting you as a person and those you love and lead. Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Laziness is a habit that can be broken as we daily abide in His mercy and His great faithfulness!
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