This is a post about laziness, so you’d better pay attention. That’s right, you: put down the Cheetos, turn off the TV, and listen up! Here’s what the Bible says about laziness. It’s bad. So stop being so lazy! End of post.
Are you still reading?
All right, I admit: that’s not what the Bible has to say about laziness. But be honest: it’s about what you expected me to say, isn’t it? If laziness actually crosses our mind we assume that A) it applies to someone else, someone with Doritos stains on his undershirt; and B) the solution is for Mr. Doritos to suck it up and work harder. If only it were that easy….
Here’s the rub when it comes to laziness: you can be the busiest person you know…and still be lazy. I know what you’re thinking. Hang on, time out – lazy people don’t do anything. Busy people do lots of things. So busy people can’t be lazy. It seems to make sense – but unfortunately it’s just not true. Here’s why: laziness isn’t defined by mere lack of activity. Laziness is not doing the tasks God has given you to do. It doesn’t matter whether you fill the void with hours of Star Trek reruns or with answering work-related emails. If it’s not what God has called you to do, then it’s laziness. So you can be perpetually busy and chronically lazy.
I know, I know – this post is getting worse by the minute. Hang with me, because there’s good news coming. Before we get there, we need to be convinced that laziness is indeed something the Bible condemns, not just a cultural taboo concocted by the workaholics among us. Proverbs has much to say on the topic of the “sluggard”, as in:
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. (Proverbs 13:4)
And Paul also addresses the topic:
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)
Now then. If laziness is a sin and isn’t limited only to the couch potatoes among us, how does the gospel address this perpetual tendency to avoid the things we should be doing? Here’s how: the gospel calls us to be people of significance. The God who saves us also gives us eternally meaningful tasks to do – not as the way to earn our salvation, but as a privilege flowing from our salvation.
Consider Ephesians 2:10: “for we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Do you see it? Before he acted in time to save you, God had already prepared a heritage of good works to give you – neighbors and family members to share the gospel with, encouraging words to speak, children to raise, a vocation to pursue. We were made to walk in those good works to honor God, love our neighbor, and bring good to our souls. After all, no one wants an empty, wasted, meaningless life. By saving us, Jesus has secured for us a life of true significance. He intends for our actions, even the mundane, fold-the-laundry ones, to matter in the world.
So Christian, fight laziness. Fight the temptation to turn away from God’s call on your life by reminding yourself of the good news: in Christ Jesus my good works matter. When we faithfully plod along, fulfilling God’s call on our lives – whether it’s the day at the office or a day at home wiping runny noses – our actions count for eternity.
Photo by Cindy Funk