“When I taught school years ago I had a student who thought it was too much work to stand up straight. As often as he could he would lean against the wall as he walked. His method of getting around was really rather humorous to watch something like riding a scooter–push . . . glide, push . . . glide. Glen had it down to a science. Normally his system worked pretty well, aside from wearing the paint off the walls and destroying his shirts.”
“One day, however, our class went on a field trip to observe a large city newspaper being published. I had warned all of my students about being careful and quiet, and that they were not to touch anything. Everything went well at first. Glen saw no need to change his style of transporting himself, however, so he glided through the building, supported in part, by the walls. He made one serious mistake, however, when he failed to look where he was going. A doorway caught him unawares and before any of us could prevent it, the lad fell headlong into a closet, crashing noisily. After much thrashing about, Glen freed himself and emerged, somewhat sheepishly, from the closet. For the rest of that day he found the more conventional means of transporting himself preferable.”
While the consequences of laziness in that story are pretty funny, the consequences Solomon speaks of aren’t.
“A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep– So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:10-11 (NKJV)
This lesson is repeated throughout Proverbs.
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Proverbs 10:4 (NKJV)
“The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway.” Proverbs 15:19 (NKJV)
“Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger.” Proverbs 19:15 (NKJV)
“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. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” Proverbs 24:30-34 (NKJV)
The picture is of someone walking by a vineyard. There is nothing to give us the impression that this vineyard should not be fruitful and yet it wasn’t. We are told the reason the vineyard isn’t fruitful it is owned by a lazy person. Through his laziness the vineyard owner has let weeds and thorns take over his vineyard. Then we are told the lesson Solomon learned from this. The lesson is that laziness leads to ruin.
Problems, problems and more problems seem to be the lot of the lazy person. Most of the problems spoken of by Solomon are financial problems. The lazy person will live a life of poverty. Most employers will not keep a lazy employee. Getting fired tends to cause cash flow problems.
It is at this point that we may be tempted to think that this doesn’t apply to us. After all if we are hard workers on the job then we will not suffer from these consequences. While these verses do specifically speak of physical poverty for laziness, I don’t think it would be a stretch to apply this to every area of our lives, even—or maybe especially—our spiritual life.
Think about how this could apply to us spiritually. Jesus said that He came to live us an abundant life (John 10:10). Jesus also said that the essence of eternal life was to know Him and to know the Father (John 17:3). The Bible also tells us that one of the things that happens when we are saved is that we have a genuine relationship with God and we are His friends (Rom 5:10-11).
Are these things true of us? Spiritually speaking are we living the abundant life that Jesus wants to give us? Do we have a real and wonderful relationship with God to the point that we truly know Him, not just know about Him? If the answer is no, why is that?
Laziness in our spiritual lives leaves us spiritually impoverished. The truth is that cultivating a relationship with God is just as much work as cultivating a relationship with anyone else. It takes time and effort on our part. We have to put forth the time and effort to meet with God daily. If I meet with God my relationship with Him grows and deepens. If I don’t then I live a life that is spiritually impoverished and far from the wonderful relationship I could have with God. There will be consequences in my relationship with God if I am lazy in my spiritual life.
If we want to follow wisdom’s urging to be diligent and leave laziness behind, we must recognize the results of laziness and want something better.