The reason we have to identify the signs of laziness is that most people will not admit to being lazy. You can put a positive spin on a lot of different bad habits, but laziness isn’t one of them. There is no way to make laziness seem positive, fruitful, or useful. It just can’t be done.
So we deny that we are lazy by pointing at how productive we are in certain areas. We tell ourselves things like, “I’m not lazy I mow the lawn and work in the yard.” Or, “I’m not lazy I cook supper and clean up every day.” Or “I’m not lazy I work hard on my job.” While these things may all be true, that does not mean we don’t have lazy tendencies.
One thing that makes laziness such a problem is that we can be lazy one area of our lives and hard workers in other areas. For instance I can be a hard worker on the job, but still be lazy at home. I can be a hard worker at home, but still be lazy on my job. I can even be a hard worker in all the physical areas of my life, but still be lazy in my spiritual life.
This is why we must be able to identify the signs of laziness and then be brutally honest to see if they are in our lives, or our children’s. As I studied what Proverbs had to say about laziness I saw three signs of laziness.
Procrastination is a sign of laziness.
The lazy person is a procrastinator. We all know that the procrastinator’s motto is, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” As we read what Proverbs has to say about the lazy person, we see that this is also true of them. For the lazy person there is always a reason to put off the task at hand—especially if it’s hard—till a later time.
I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I really didn’t want to include this. However the testimony of Scripture is so clear that I would have had to be unfaithful to Scripture not to include it.
“How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep–” Proverbs 6:9-10 (NKJV)
Here we see that the lazy person fully intends to get to work, right after his nap. Solomon says something similar in another place.
“He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” Proverbs 10:5 (NKJV)
The opportunity to accomplish the task is right there, but there is always a reason to put it off until later. Procrastinators are always just about ready to start a job. Just about, but not quite. “Let me do this one more thing first.” Then before you know it the job is either done, or it’s so late it cannot be done, or we are so behind that we are stressed and cranky until we finish.
Excuse making is a sign of laziness
“The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!’” Proverbs 22:13 (NKJV)
“The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!’” Proverbs 26:13 (NKJV)
From reading the Old Testament it does seem that possibly some lions lived in Israel during this time. Despite this, being eaten by a lion wasn’t an every day event. Even though the danger of being eaten by a lion was remote, this is the danger the lazy person chose to highlight. We may laugh at the silliness of this excuse, but are our excuses much better? I think the main point of this is that the lazy person will latch on to any excuse he can in order to get out of doing something he doesn’t want to do. I think that most of the time our excuses are a way to justify our laziness.
Starting but not finishing is a sign of laziness.
Lazy people have a hard time finishing what they started. Perhaps the project was harder, more complicated than he originally anticipated and so he sets it aside.
“The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession.” Proverbs 12:27 (NKJV)
The lazy person goes hunting for food and kills something edible. But then discovers that cleaning and preparing the game is way too hard so he stops.
“The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.” Proverbs 20:4 (NKJV)
The lazy person starts out to be a farmer. But then when it comes time to plow decides against it and ends up with nothing.
“The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.” Proverbs 26:15 (NKJV)
The lazy person sticks his hand in the bowl to feed himself. Then decides that is too much work and stops. In every instance there is no follow through. The lazy person starts tasks that are necessary but quits when it gets too hard.
With this same line of thought is failing to accomplish goals
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)
“The desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor.” Proverbs 21:25 (NKJV)
The lazy person always has big goals and ambitions. If they tell you about what they are going to do, it sounds awesome. The problem is that they never complete these goals. They aim high but hit low. They fail to realize that accomplishing goals takes effort, often very hard effort. As it says they want much, but get little. The reason for this is they will not do what is necessary to accomplish their goals. They start but they don’t finish.
As we look over our lives do we see goals accomplished or goals abandoned? Do we see many things started but few things completed? Of course some goals take years to accomplish and so that isn’t what we are talking about here. I am talking about achievable goals that we gave up on because they were too hard. At the first of the year how many of us set goals of things we wanted to accomplish in 2017? The year is half over, how are we doing on those goals? Are we making progress or have we abandoned them because they were too hard?