The word slothfulness means laziness, sluggishness, or indolence which is the avoidance of activity or exertion. A slothful person is one who not only doesn’t want to work, but gives reasons why it will not work, why he didn’t complete a task, why she came late, etc. Slothful persons do not see anything wrong with it. They don’t accept responsibility. They always have excuses and blame someone for their mistakes and failures.
Is being slothful a sin? Why so much emphasis on how someone decides to live his or her life, choosing when to and when not to do their tasks? You would agree with me that a lazy person poses a problem, but have you ever wondered why? Thankfully, the Bible helps us out. It does not only answer the question, it also tells us why. Look at some interesting verses that talk about slothfulness:
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Proverbs 13:4
“Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.” Ecclesiastes 10:18
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Proverbs 10:4
“The one who is too lazy to look for work is the same as who wastes his life away.” Proverbs 18:9
“Despites the desires, the lazy will come to ruin for their hands refuse to work.” Proverbs 21:25
These scriptures and many others point to the fact that slothfulness is unprofitable. Therefore, it is justified that slothfulness is indeed a sin because laziness is equated to waste – wasted ability, wasted resources, and wasted time. By being slothful, you have nothing to hold onto because you have squandered a lifetime. Everyone on earth has greatness deposited in them. There are gifts, talents that are deposited in us all. We are here for a reason and God’s purpose for our lives cannot be achieved if we are lazy. You must take responsibility in order to bring out all God has deposited in you.
A slothful person can never become all God has and wants him/her to be; not because God cannot do it, but because they do not put in the needed effort for such fulfilment. You don’t expect God to come down to make you wealthy; He has deposited in all human beings everything needed to make greatness. We just need to duplicate it. God created us in His own image. As powerful as He is, He respects the choices we make because the power of choice was given to us. Imagine choosing or deciding to be slothful, you know what that means already.
As Christians, it is easy to claim Abrahamic blessings, yet we shy away from inherent conditions. We want miracles, but we forget that our God is a God of principles, ‘he that does not work should not eat’. Many people today believe in seed sowing, they sow and sow until they become broke and frustrated. Seed sowing is not wrong but many sow with limited understanding. By so doing, they question God, get frustrated in the process and even doubt God.
Are you doing anything that God will bless? Do you have seed in your hands that should be multiplied? “The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands…” (Deuteronomy 28:12) is inapplicable to lazy people.
The ‘parable of talents’ in Matthew 25:14-30 is a perfect pointer to the implications of slothfulness. In the parable, three men were given bags of gold or talents of money. Two were wise and used the time to multiply their money (they invested, opened businesses, learned skills, and improved on themselves before the time the money would be returned). However, the third man hid his money in the ground and did nothing else with it (he relaxed and enjoyed himself like most of us do – no business, no self-discovery, and no investment). What was the outcome? When the master returned, he expected a return on his money, expected profit, expected good report. The first two who took responsibility were able to give their master good report but the third man returned the money to his master the same way it was given. The master’s response was, “You wicked and lazy servant! So, you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then you should have deposited my money with the bankers so that when I returned, I would receive it back with interest.” (Matthew 25:25-27).
Take note of the nature of words used on the servant, ‘wicked and lazy’. This is exactly how God sees a slothful person. You may be wondering if one has to work all the time without resting. It will sound funny but the answer is a YES and NO. Let’s get this clear, knowing the difference between rest and laziness. A working person rests from his labour, but a lazy person rests all the time without working. A lazy person is always tired, never in the mood for work. Rest is something that is necessary after you have worked, even God Himself rested (Genesis 2:2). He RESTED after WORKING.
Knowing what slothfulness is and its consequences, you must be intentional about getting out and breaking free from laziness. You must understand your purpose. When you discover your purpose here on earth, you should not just stop there but must make it a reality.
You must also deal with the spirit of procrastination: that spirit of ‘I will do it later.’ Do things when necessary, do things at the right time, when you are supposed to. Ecclesiastes 9:10, Ecclesiastes 11:4, James 4:17.
Discover your passion: passion is a strong enthusiasm or desire for anything. Imagine going after or doing what you love, nobody would need to motivate or encourage you to do it. When you do something you are passionate about, you won’t have time for excuse because you are happy doing it. Some people have passion for dancing, singing, cooking, etc. You see them taking extra steps to improve this passion because they love it. So, what do you have passion for? Get up and pursue it.
Take responsibility: you don’t have to be pushed before you do something. You don’t need to be in a particular mood before your best is seen. Judges 12:3, “when I saw that you wouldn’t help me, I took my life in my hands and I crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?’’ And Psalm 119:109, “My life is continually in my hand, yet I do not forget your law”.
You never know what you can do until you try to do something. What you are afraid of is actually afraid of you, stop making it look powerful. Don’t think about how it will happen and what if it fails? Why not look at the bright side: what if it works?
Life is a battleground, put on your armour and be ready for the battle. Get a to-do list each day and make sure you achieve what is written in there. Make sure the goals are achievable and be ready to pursue it. Stop giving yourself excuses, you owe yourself everything. You weren’t created to explain your existence but to give it expression.
Slothfulness is a spirit and you must deal with it as if your life depends on it. Prayerfully, purposefully, and carefully work towards being productive every day. Think about this: going back to meet your creator without fulfilling your purpose because of laziness. May we not behave like the last man in the parable of talents. May we empty ourselves, doing the very essence of our creation, impacting lives, making a difference, emptying hell and populating Heaven. May the spirit of slothfulness be broken off our lives in JESUS name. AMEN.