Does God Really Care If I’m Lazy?
By Fin Sheridan
My wife loves naps. She’s deeply committed to them. I suspect that, at some point in our lives, we will have to go and live in a country that practices siestas because the idea that you can live somewhere that puts napping into the rhythm of the working day is incredibly appealing to her. Our holidays are effectively napping – but abroad!
It’s shaky ground to begin an article on laziness with talking about one’s wife and so I’d like to get back on firmer territory as soon as possible. Taking a nap, when you’re tired, isn’t laziness. Having a rest, or an evening in, or even a weekend of boxsets, isn’t laziness. Laziness is “the quality of being unwilling to work or use energy.” It’s a character trait, not an event.
This also isn’t a tirade against people who can’t work, for one reason or another. Unemployment is tough and so is sickness that makes people unable to work. Those complex issues can be discussed another day. What we’re talking about is a refusal or reluctance to work, to labour, to put effort into something.
“In case you were wondering, sluggard isn’t a compliment.”
The Bible is pretty blunt about laziness. Proverbs 6:6-11 talks directly to those of us who are lazy with a strong rebuke:
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
In case you were wondering, “sluggard” isn’t a compliment. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, Paul re-enforces the message in 2 Thessalonians 3 saying that they should “keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.”. He even says those who are “not willing to work should not eat”.
It’s interesting that he’s talking about believers there – there is something about the willingness to work hard and reject the appetite for laziness that is a godly quality. When we work hard and well, we’re displaying something sacred. We’re showing the heart of the Father who didn’t passively stand by and let humanity self destruct but stepped in and laid down the life of his Son for us. Whether it’s at work or at home, we should be unafraid of hard work. It matters to God. It should matter to us.