To be slothful means to be lazy, sluggish and idle. Who is an idle person? Idleness according to God’s Word is not about being unemployed or being a person who gazes into space and daydreams all day long. An idle person from scripture is actually a busy person, the person is busy doing the wrong things; busy with activities God doesn’t want the person to waste a second of his time on. Anybody can plunge into idleness; young, old, female, male, rich, poor, Christians, unbelievers, married or single. A country can actually unknowingly embrace idleness as a way of life. We see this in Acts 17:21. “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or hear some new thing.” While the Athenians and their tourists were known for hanging around waiting to hear the latest juicy news or gossip, compare their lifestyle with the report given in an earlier verse of those living in Berea. “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). 1 Timothy 5:13 describes an idle widow as one who spends time on empty talk, gossip and trivialities; “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not”. In Isaiah 56:10, God’s watchmen; believers who should be standing in the gap praying for the land, praying for families and the people of God are rebuked for sleeping, being lazy and sluggish with the things of God.
Let’s do some soul searching today to see if we exhibit any of the characteristics of an idle person. An idle person tends to oversleep. The productive time of the day or the person’s life that should be spent doing things that can fetch the person an income or move the person to a higher level, the idle person wastes it sleeping. Consequently, there’s no money to put food on his table. “Laziness cast one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15). Hunger in the land is not always the effect of famine, inflation or economic recession. Some hunger is laziness or idleness induced.
An idle person always has the perfect excuse to avoid responsibility. When the weather is cold, this is an excuse not to work or do something worthwhile. “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4). When the weather is neither hot nor cold, the person given to laziness or idleness will still find something to use as an excuse why they can’t get involved, why they can’t do the things they should be doing. “The lazy man says, there is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets” (Proverbs 26:13)!
Idleness is about not paying attention to important aspects of our lives, it is to neglect or overlook the care of our home and family, it is being careless with responsibilities and our possessions. This lack of care, commitment and dedication, creates cracks or holes until things degenerate to such a horrible level. “Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks” (Ecclesiastes 10: 18). May this not be the story of the ‘building’ of our lives, families, business, career, ministry, church and nation, in Jesus mighty name, amen! When there is a leak, it means there is an opening through which liquid or gas can flow out. May idleness not create an opening in our lives that drains out the virtues, potentials and abilities God has put in us. May idleness not create an opening where blessings and opportunities escape beyond our reach.
God doesn’t entrust important assignments into idle hands. When Jesus called Peter and Andrew his brother, they were fishing (Matthew 4:18-20). Matthew was in his tax office or booth when Jesus called him (Matthew 9:9). Elisha was working hard on a field plowing oxen when the mantle of leadership fell on him (1 Kings 19:19).
God wants us to do our best and give our best. God wants us to be diligent, ready to serve and work wholeheartedly, to be a people who are committed and exceptional in whatever we set our hands to do. I pray that the excellent Spirit of God will rest mightily on us and we will not be seen eating the bread of idleness. As we excel in spirit, service and business, may uncommon and unexpected doors of blessings be opened to us.
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