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Laziness:  What does the Bible say about it? 

Gary Googe Jun 19

How would you define a person who is lazy? Isn’t it someone who resists work and exertion and is disposed to idleness? An older term for it is slothfulness.  Such people are slow to work but usually quick to play, relax or sleep.  The Bible tells us these people need to take a lesson from the little creature known as the ant.  Scripture informs us that the ant could give him some excellent practical advice.

Proverbs 6:6-11

6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard [ATSEL = slothful]; consider her ways, and be wise:

7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, [meaning they don’t have to be supervised to be productive]

8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth [a wandering hobo], and thy want as an armed man [experiencing times of desperation for survival]. [Emphasis added]

Instead of being known as hard-working people, they build a reputation of being lazy, making themselves dependent upon the labors of others.  Therefore, people tend to avoid them.

Proverbs 19:7

7 All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him. [Emphasis added] 

Instead of working his life away, he tends to sleep it away.  Therefore, the activity of the lazy person is as minimal as he can make it with the result that his desires are left unfulfilled.

Proverbs 13:4

4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. [Emphasis added]

My wife and I had a highly successful business in the direct sales industry for over thirty years.  I found myself often telling people that the business wouldn’t work for them if they wouldn’t.  People would come into that business with big dreams of what it might provide for them, but so many were disappointed in the end.  A person’s work ethic, whatever it was, soon became visible to all by the level of their productivity.  There was no hiding it.  Scripture tells us lazy people are impoverished.

Proverbs 19:15

15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. [Emphasis added]

The lazy person lacks energy and at times becomes unwilling to perform even the simplest of chores.

Proverbs 19:24

24 A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. [Emphasis added]

Proverbs 26:15

15 The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. [Emphasis added]

The lazy person spends entirely too much time relaxing and sleeping his life away.

Proverbs 26:14

14 As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. [Emphasis added]

Because of his slothfulness he is a source of irritation to those who depend upon him and his labors.

Proverbs 10:26

26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.  [Emphasis added]

He is full of excuses for his unwillingness to work and to work hard.  He, therefore, plans poorly for the future.

Proverbs 20:4

4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. [Emphasis added]

He may worry about his circumstances, but is too lazy to do anything significant about them.

Proverbs 22:13

13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets. [Emphasis added]

Whatever home he occupies will eventually have need for repairs but he’s not willing to exert the effort needed to address them.

Ecclesiastes 10:18

18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. [Emphasis added]

Whatever business he may have, it is in a state of disorder and confusion.

Proverbs 24:30-31

30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. [Emphasis added]

The slothful person is simply not willing to put forth the labor or even the faith necessary to make wise investments to have a better future.  Our Lord’s parable of the talents speaks well to this.

Matthew 25:24-26

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: [Emphasis added]

Please note how laziness is portrayed.  It is not just a poor lifestyle; it is something that is said to be “wicked.”  It is, therefore, something to be avoided.  But the lazy person often thinks of it as a virtue.  He thinks of himself as wise in his avoidance of work.

Proverbs 26:16

16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason. [Emphasis added]

 Isn’t it amazing how much practical wisdom can be gained from a study of this book called Proverbs?

We are here told that a virtuous woman is not lazy but a very active and productive person in many areas of life.

Proverbs 31:27

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. [Emphasis added]

But here we also find that the lady of one’s house is always in danger of being negatively influenced in this by the man of the house.

1 Timothy 5:13

13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. [Emphasis added]

Whoever says the Bible isn’t a practical book obviously doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  What could be more practical and useful than all this!

Believers who wish to set aside time to study the Bible are sometimes criticized, saying such is a waste of time and a sign of laziness.  We have an example of this accusation in the days of the people of Israel’s bondage in Egypt.

Exodus 5:8,17-18a

8 And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God.

17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord.

18 Go therefore now, and work; [Emphasis added]

Studying and meditating on the Word of God is a form of worship.  It is one of the best ways you’ll ever invest your time and never let anyone ever cause you to think otherwise.  Furthermore, studying the Bible is work! Thinking has always been the hardest and most demanding of all forms of work.  That’s why I’ve always been amused at people who claim they quit school to go to work.  Again, what they were already doing in studying is the hardest form of work.

As you go through this article, certain people may come to mind, but we all need to first address our own weaknesses, whatever they may be.  Certainly, we can all be more productive than we are.  So, what things came to mind about things in your life that could stand some improvement? Please don’t be like the slothful person and ignore those thoughts.  Act on them! Work to build a reputation for being a productive person.  Only then will you be able to establish a wonderful life.  In the book of James, we have a warning concerning this.

James 1:22-24

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass [a mirror]:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. [Emphasis added]

Scripture tells us we’re to be diligent in both learning and applying God’s Word.  As you can see, the book of Proverbs alone is filled with little statements of warning concerning this. But other parts of Scripture tell us much the same.

Romans 12:11

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; [Emphasis added]

Hebrews 6:12

12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. [Emphasis added]


Slothfulness never builds a life worth living! Laziness is classed right along with things like drunkenness and other sins that come from lack of self-discipline.  If you want a life of meaning and purpose, you’ll have to go to work! You’ll have to work hard at whatever you do and all with a view toward serving your Lord and Savior for His reward in blessing.

Colossians 3:23-25

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons [no exceptions!]. [Emphasis added]

Your decision on this will ultimately be known to all.  There’s no hiding it!

Galatians 6:7-9

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. [Emphasis added]

Most of the people who need to read this article the most will not get this far in reading it.  You now know what is probably the main reason why.

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