The Danger Of Laziness

Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks.

–Ecclesiastes 10:18

How do you spot foolishness? The fool is lazy. Look at Ecclesiastes 10:15: “The toil of a fool so wearies him that he does not even know how to go to a city.” When a fool has to do a little bit of work, it so undoes him that he just wanders around.

The lazy person, or the sluggard, is a continual theme throughout Solomon’s writings. Look at Proverbs 26:13-14: “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.” Isn’t that a great description? When the alarm goes off in the morning, the sluggard knows he ought to get up and get started on the day’s activities, but he comes up with any excuse not to do so.

Solomon continued, “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer” (v. 16). The sluggard has become a believer in his own excuses. As a result, every area of his life begins to suffer.

Perhaps the greatest picture of the sluggard is found in Proverbs 24:30-32: “I passed by the field of the sluggard and by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, and behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction.” Picture Solomon walking by this home that was in disrepair–but instead of clucking his tongue and condemning the owner, Solomon said, “I am going to learn something from this man’s mistakes.” And here is what he learned: “‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,’ then your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man” (vv. 33-34).

The story is told that an atheist died, and in his will, he decreed that his farm be left to the devil. How in the world was the court going to fulfill the man’s wish? Finally, the court decided they would just leave the farm alone. If they left the land unattended, the fields would overgrow with thistles. If they left the barn unpainted, it would rot. In other words, the best way to let Satan take possession of the farm was to do nothing. That is true in your life as well: the best way to allow Satan to take possession of any part of your life–your business, your marriage, your children, your relationship with God–is to do nothing. Ecclesiastes 10:18 says, “Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks.” Laziness is a mark of foolishness.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Maxims for Maximum Living” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Farm story adapted from “Cyclopedia of Religious Anecdotes,” comp. James Gilchrist Lawson (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1923), 362.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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