Work for Jesus and work well,
And in His name the darkness dispel.
In worldly cares don’t grow dull,
Lest your praise to God go lull.
The world and its lust is fading away,
Be brave and carry your cross everyday.
For most of mankind in ignorance sleeps,
Unaware of the evil that carefully seeps.
Don’t be drowsy in drunkenness or grief,
Lest your treasure gets stolen by the thief.
Because among God’s chosen you number,
Keep away from all worthless slumber.
And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:17)
Every Christian should consider the Biblical call to avoid laziness and overcome it. Now laziness is not the same thing as resting after a hard days work. Laziness is rather idleness and the quality of being unwilling to work or use effort and energy. For some unwitting people a holiday means a time to be lazy and avoid all work including house work, while others just carry their work (via a laptop or smartphone) together with them. Now this doesn’t mean each Christian ought to avoid holidays or be a workaholic who works until he or she is completely drained out. That would be too extreme, isn’t it?
The key to a balanced Christian life would be to live a life consistent with the principles of the Bible. Now there are four areas of life where a Christian can and must avoid laziness, which are as follows:
1. The Spiritual life.
2. The Emotional life.
3. The Physical life.
4. The Financial life.
I’ll explain what each of them mean and what can be done to avoid laziness in them but first let’s get to know a few Bible verses about laziness. Here’s the first one:
How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:9-11)
Plus here are a few more Bible verses about laziness to consider:
* A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)
* Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. (Proverbs 19:15)
* The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)
From the above verses you’d notice that laziness can bring in eventual poverty, hunger and lack. At the same time diligence can make you rich. What would you prefer? For those who want to not be in poverty, hunger and lack which come due to lack of action in the right direction, there’s where the teachings of the Bible come to use. I’ll now explain the four key areas in detail:-
1. The Spiritual life
This is the most important area of life a man, woman or child could ever have. Whatever you do in your present spiritual life can have dramatic consequences in the after life. The problem is that some people are very busy in all areas of their life except that of the spirit. They neglect their prayers unto God, forget to give thanks to the Lord, and even avoid doing good works. The usual excuse is that they are too busy or don’t have time. But whatever be the reason, if you be lazy in your spiritual life then do not expect a good commendation from the Lord God. A few verses to reflect and act upon:
1. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)
2. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
3. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
4. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17
2. The Emotional life
Your emotional life is the next most important area. Many people make life changing decisions based on their impulses instead of wisdom. This causes them a lot of hardship later on while it may be possible they might enjoy themselves temporarily. Because people are too lazy to cultivate and safeguard their emotions they easily break in the face of adversity. The people of God are called to be vigilant and wise instead. It’s wise to know your current emotional state towards yourself and the Lord God and even your fellow human beings and animals and so on. This can give you the opportunity to either groom or correct your emotions. A few verses to ponder and work upon:
1. So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
2. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
3. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and the evil out of the evil brings forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
4. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
3. The Physical life
There are people who are very good in their spiritual and emotional life but are lacking in their physical life. Then you hear that such people are finding difficulty in walking or running or climbing and so on. I wish they work on their physical frame as well. So what is the physical life I speak of? It’s basically the physical well-being of the body in terms of nutrition and exercise. While I do agree that it’s given to man to die once and then comes the resurrection of the just (and the unjust for those who die in their sin) it does not mean we neglect our physical bodies in the mean time. The Bible never tells us to neglect our body once we get saved, in fact we are told that we who believe in Christ Jesus are nothing less than the temple of the Holy Spirit. Read the following Bible verses and use them to your benefit:
1. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:19)
2. For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)
3. A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might (Proverbs 24:5)
4. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong (Proverbs 31:17)
4. The Financial life
The area of finance is something that people give way too much importance to. However the areas of spirit, emotions and physical life should not be neglected while working on the area of finance. Some get into debt because they sleep or laze around instead of working when it’s the time to work. There are others who awake enough to earn their living but asleep enough to not check their overspending or even getting into debts that they can easily avoid. As a result there is a lot of strain in terms of money in their life which affects their families too. So don’t love money at all but instead be diligent in earning it and saving it and only spend it wisely. A few verses in this area that you can act upon:
1. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. (Proverbs 10:5)
2. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)
3. 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 3:11-12)
4. But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:26-30)
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6: 6-11)
Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands,yet it is in kings’ palaces. (Proverbs 30: 24-28)
A sluggard is basically an habitually lazy person. You’d see such a type of man, woman or child just lazing around most of the while. They practically do nothing at all. All they want is to sleep as if nothing else is there for them. In contrast have a look at the ant. One hardly sees a lazy ant. These tiny creatures are at times a nuisance to food stored at home. But credit can be given to ants as they keep the forests cleaner by collecting dead leaves and twigs and fruits dropped by the trees, and then consuming or using them. They store food for the future especially for the times there will be none or little available to forage. This helps them survive droughts and even tough winters.
When will you arise from your sleep?
There are people who might seem active on the physical front. These often are seen busy at work and home. However, they are not fully active. So what’s the area they are not keeping active? It’s basically the region of spiritual growth where they are to gain wisdom by listening to sermons at church, reading the Bible prayerfully and helping the poor and needy. There are a lot of people who excel at work, they never bunk their work day etc but if you ask them how many times have they read the full book of Psalms in the Bible, they’ll be clueless. If you ask them who is Joel in the Bible, they would not be able to say that he’s one of the prophets of God. These even miss on group prayers with other Christians in their local community.
Some people are asleep to the will of God. They have not a hint of what God expects of them. How does this happen? It’s basically the cares and worries of the world hold their attention. Others are instead overwhelmed by the fleeting pleasures of life and the methods to keep gathering wealth for future enjoyment. I’m not talking about normal joys of life or meeting the basic needs of healthy living. These people live and work only for spending it later in unnecessary thrills. Ask them to donate to the poor, at any place of their choice and they’ll give you a strange look. But tell them to go and visit a certain fancy restaurant and they won’t hesitate at all to part ways with huge sums of money. So bad is their condition of spiritual sleep that unless the storms of life confront them, they won’t be every pray to God. Never be stuck in such a sleep that you are not walking in the will of God.
If you see ants, you’d notice they are not sleeping most of the time. They are very much active and work for each ant in the ant colony. They don’t need to be reminded to work, they automatically do what is necessary to gather food. Shouldn’t we as Christians, start reading the Bible to know God’s will for us instead of waiting for someone to remind us for the Nth time?
A little sleep, a little slumber…
There are those who love to be lazy everyday and every moment. For them complacency and peace mean the same thing. Anything that requires a serious effort to do good in life, is incorrectly perceived as trouble. So they go on living a life of ignorance, not gaining knowledge and some don’t even bother to save enough for the future. Then comes a challenge in life, maybe one has to escape one’s city due to an imminent volcano eruption and the lazy person is wondering if he’s to work hard and escape the city. He then realizes that he didn’t bother to fill up his car tank all the way up, for the long rush out of the city. So decides to go out to the neighbours who by then have already been diligent enough to have a fully ready car and have already left the place. Usually the lazy man will feel remorse at this point but that won’t really help him escape, unless there’s someone out there in the neighbourhood or on the highway who takes him in their vehicle. This way he can still get away safely. Perhaps that would later change his attitude towards his sleep loving nature but God knows the human heart best.
Again, being spiritually asleep can be dangerous. One must never be in love with the world but rather with the Lord Jesus Christ. People who choose the darkness (and I mean choose deliberately to avoid the light of world Jesus our Lord), are not going to a happy place once their time is done on earth. Hell awaits those who let go of the Gospel. People at church must be very careful to never play into the plans of the Devil and end up not in heaven. The best and the only way you don’t fall into the Devil’s plans is that you make a choice to do it as per God’s plan, which is to carry your cross. This is not about earning your salvation, this is about living it! And living your salvation means that you act with wisdom and dignity as a true child of God.
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:10-13)
If you notice the ants doing their usual stuff you’ll notice they know their objectives which are to find out food and pick it up and gather it into their place of storing together. These don’t have that many brain cells. Even ten thousand ants all put together do not have enough complexity to match that of a human brain. Yet, these are sincere, which is even with that little logic they are born with, these actually stick to the overall plan.
Somehow when it comes to people, not everyone chooses to use their minds. Especially when it comes to doing the will of God. Let me make it real to you. Some folks need to be reminded every few days, to love the Lord God even though they are clearly aware that Christ died and rose from the dead for lost sinners. We are not at this point to engage in a blame game with such people but rather guide them to the Lord with boldness, courage and respect.
and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30)
Knowing how diligent the Lord God’s creature the ant is, we must try to even be more better than it. We can if we wish, we can choose to not be too sleepy but be active at the right times. This way we can benefit physically, financially and most importantly physically. Christ has given us all great potential, he’s invested in life into us. Make good use of his life in you!
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
The Bible teaches us how to spend our time well. No one must keep saying that they don’t have time for spiritual things as they are busy. That’s your priority with the Lord God. In my earlier article (Use your time wisely) I mentioned that your time wisely for it won’t come back. Here are some time management principles from the Bible with a few comments before them to clarify things for you:
Check where and on what are you investing your time and if its by the will of God.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Once you get the right idea, do this.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)
Remember that you have limited time.
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah (Psalm 39:4-5)
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Have rational targets to achieve in peace.
Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:6)
Plan out your actions in advance and act prudently to avoid losses later.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28)
Go to the ant, O lazy person. Watch and think about her ways, and be wise. She has no leader, head or ruler, but she gets her food ready in the summer, and gathers her food at the right time. (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Don’t be lazy because you won’t get any good from it.
Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)
A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4)
Laziness throws one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will go hungry. (Proverbs 19:15)
Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)
Don’t invent absurd reasons to be lazy.
Whenever a lazy man is sent, he says, “A lion is in the road”; “a lion is in the midst of the streets.” (Proverbs 26:13)
Be diligent with your time.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 31:27)
There are times for different purposes so act accordingly.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:8)
Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7)
Keep the teachings and commandments to prolong your life.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. (Proverbs 3:1-2)
Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path (Proverbs 23:19)
Attend to your own work to avoid lack.
…and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
Spare no efforts on your way to a good result.
In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand: for you know not which shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both alike shall be good. (Ecclesiastes 11:6)
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6)
Don’t give up easily, have patience.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Be alert and prayerful always.
Be on your guard [constantly alert], and watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come. (Mark 13: 33)