The Lazy L Ranch

My nephew owns a rather large lawn service company. Since the beginning of summer he has been looking to hire one or two people (above minimum wage) to work for him. Nothing. No bites. No one interested.

I have friends who own restaurants who have had to periodically shut down because they couldn’t fully staff the restaurant. There are help wanted signs everywhere! What is the matter with this picture? What’s wrong with this culture? One word…laziness. And many are living in this place…the Lazy Life ranch. I don’t believe many people truly understand how God feels about this.  

The book of Proverbs presents two categories of people: the wise and the prudent, or the fool, scoffer, and mocker. The first seeks wisdom and loves instruction. The second neglects discipline and spurns reproof. In chapter six, Solomon uses the ant and the sluggard as examples…the ant being wise, and the sluggard being a fool.

The word sluggard means, “to lean idly, or to be lazy.” We often think of this characterization as being concerned with the physical aspect of a person’s life. But there is a deeper, more significant spiritual application we must consider.

When the sluggard is mentioned in Scripture, he is often pictured as being on his bed…sleeping very soundly. So, let’s take a look at what happens while the sluggard rests comfortably in his bed.

He sleeps through the harvest.

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep? (Pro.6:6-9)

Jesus declares in Matthew 9:37 that “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” The sluggard misses the awesome blessing of bringing someone into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We can never be too tired to labor for souls.

The sluggard sleeps when it is time to eat.

A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. (Pro.19:24)

Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven, if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever (Jn.6:51). We sleep in on Sunday morning…we are too weary to go to Bible study through the week…we get up too late in the morning to read and pray. When do we eat the spiritual food? Jesus said that if we eat we live…if we don’t, we die. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of forever)

He also sleeps when there is danger.

The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!” (Pro.22:13)

John tells us that “the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy” (Jn.10:10). Satan is a lion seeking to devour and the sluggard simply sleeps through the danger and the attack. If we for one moment believe that we can close our eyes for a spiritual “power nap” and think the enemy will not attack, we are in for a very rude awakening.

And finally, the lazy sluggard sleeps when it is time to work.

I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. (Pro.24:30-31)

Laziness, being a sin, has disastrous consequences, as do all sins. Specifically, laziness leads to disaster. In fact, Scripture states that those who are able to work, but refuse to do so, should not be allowed to eat (2 Thess.3:10–12).

Having rightly exposed and condemned the sin of laziness, we must be careful not to imagine that it’s opposite, hard work, is always pleasing to God. Whereas diligent work often brings earthly blessings, the motive behind our work is even more important than the temporal result. Workaholism or frenetic working out of fear or greed is just as displeasing to God as laziness.

Jesus tells us to “let your life shine before all men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt.5:16). If we are too lazy to work what is it that the world is seeing through us? They need to see the “Light” of our good works. Showing them Jesus glorifies the Father. There is an ancient Arabian proverb that says, “A lazy man is a workshop for Satan.” That really is what a lazy person is…a vessel through which Satan can accomplish a lot by us doing very little. Time to leave the Lazy L ranch and start living at the Life Abundant ranch!

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