The Lazy Person In Proverbs
In the book of Proverbs, the characteristics of a lazy person are thoroughly described. In this short article, let us look at ten of them, make relative comments, and then make a personal spiritual application:
1) He was so lazy that he did not want to get up out of bed (Proverbs 6:9-11) — In fact, he had no ambition whatsoever. If he had his way, he would permanently remain in bed (Proverbs 26:14).
2) He was so lazy that he refused to go outside because he feared for his safety (Proverbs 26:13) — Folks, there are no guarantees in life because life is always uncertain (James 4:14; cf. Job 7:6-7). Always being fearful that we “shall be slain in the streets” (Proverbs 22:13) is a terrible way in which to live.
3) He was too lazy to work or plow — The Proverb writer declares, “The sluggard will not plow because of winter; Therefore he will beg during the harvest and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4 ). The best time to plow the ground is in the fall after the harvest in order to prepare the ground for the following year. The lazy person will not be engaged in that preparation because it’s simply too cold for him. Even in the spring, the rains make it difficult to plow— thus another difficulty in the lazy man’s way.
4) He was so lazy that he did not take care of his own property (Proverbs 24:30-34) — We might be wondering, “How in the world did this individual ever gain this property in the first place?” From the Old Testament, we know the land that the Israelites possessed was passed down in the family from generation to generation (cf. Leviticus 25:1-55). This lazy individual had obviously inherited the property, but never took steps to keep it up or improve it in any way.
5) He was too lazy to do any work at all — The Proverb writer again states, “The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labor (Proverbs 21:25). All normal people have something by which they are motivated, whether by popularity, wealth, or social standing. The man Solomon here describes is only motivated to do nothing — to avoid any kind of work at any cost. The individual with this kind of self-destructive attitude will not work even if a temporary fit of madness overtakes him. The desire to avoid honorable labor is to his own detriment — even to the point of his death! This is indeed a sad picture of a wasted life.
6) He was so lazy that he would not complete any assigned job — Like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-14), after this man has squandered his inheritance, he may occasionally earn just enough to exist, but he cannot be counted on. Like the vinegar that irritates the teeth and smoke that irritates the eyes (Proverbs 10:26), the lazy man doesn’t want to be irritated in any form, shape, or manner when it comes to honest labor.
7) He was so lazy that he would not go out and hunt for food — The same ploy that this man made to avoid working outside (see point number 3), will also keep him from hunting game (Proverbs 22:13; Proverbs 26:13).
8) He was so lazy that he refused to prepare his food — The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting” (Proverbs 12:27). This man was so lazy that he refuses to cook the meat he received in hunting, even though he might have been hungry. This indicates the extreme, deeply ingrained attitude of laziness in this man.
9) He was so lazy that even though he was prepared to eat, he would not complete the action of eating — The Proverb writer tells us, “A slothful man buries his hand in the bowl, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again” (Proverbs 19:24). Engaging in this “strenuous” activity “wearies him to bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 26:15). Folks, even in my most exhausted state, my failing to eat has never been a viable option. If any food is close enough to reach with either my fingers or silverware, it is headed straight to my open mouth — to be consumed with great gusto!
10) He was so lazy that he could only dream of possessing what honest work would provide — To this lazy person, success would only exist in his imagination (Proverbs 18:4). How terrible to be a prisoner by one’s own laziness. Let’s think about this: When a lazy person envies the prosperous lives of others, he knows that he will never achieve such success because he remains locked in a cell from which he can never escape. Having chosen to shun any kind of work, his mind refuses to release him — he becomes a prisoner of his own laziness.
The idea of laziness is condemned throughout the Bible. Even the inspired apostle Paul worked with his hands as a tentmaker (1 Corinthians 4:12; Acts 18:3; cf. Acts 20:34; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8) and told the brethren in the form of a command that, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). In the spiritual realm, Paul again exhorted the Corinthian brethren to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). The Hebrew writer tells us that we must have a steadfast faith in order to inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:11-12).
Brethren, like our Savior, let us be found diligently doing our Father’s business (Luke 2:49), which is “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10; cf. Matthew 18:11; Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16).
There will be no lazy or disobedient Christians in heaven (cf. Matthew 25:24-30; Matthew 8:12; Matthew 21:43; Matthew 24:48-51).