As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
Employers often say to each other, “It is hard to get good help these days,” complaining about the lack of fast, hard-working employees. If this proverb were taught in school instead of liberal arts and entertainment, there might be many more diligent employees.
What is a sluggard? Let The Oxford English Dictionary give the sense of this word.
Sluggard. One who is naturally or habitually slow, lazy, or idle; one who is disinclined for work or exertion; a slothful or indolent person.
A sluggard is a slow and lazy person. Instead of being energetic, fast, and diligent, they dawdle through life in first or second gear without a godly sense of urgency. Paul knew the Cretians were this way, so he told Titus to rebuke the “slow bellies” (Titus 1:12-13).
Dear reader, how do you approach your day’s duties? As a high-energy, fast-working, diligent worker? Or are you an, “I’m-here-ain’t-I,” or an, “I-need-to-pace-myself,” loser? There is not any work in the grave, and you will miss it, so get diligent now (Eccl 9:10).
Sluggards do not have a sense of urgency (Pr 6:6); they love to sleep (Pr 6:9-11); sluggards want more without the effort to get it (Pr 13:4); they are defeated by minor hindrances (Pr 20:4); and the sluggard always has reasons to excuse himself (Pr 26:16).
Employers cringe to see employees standing around, walking slowly, talking instead of working, pacing themselves through a job, avoiding the next task, taking another break, and other sluggardly sins. As vinegar causes teeth to ache and smoke causes eyes to burn, so a sluggard irritates and hurts his employer, or anyone else counting on him.
Who is relying on you today? An employer? Parents? A husband? A family? The Lord? Success and praise are as easy as keeping vinegar and smoke away from them. Get out of bed, attack your duties, and keep moving (Pr 10:4; 12:24; 22:29; I Kings 11:28).
Even ungodly men will reward the diligent. So get busy, now! Success for a Christian young man in this world is simple: work hard; work fast; finish the job. And take note, the virtuous woman is more a hard worker than anything else (Pr 31:10-31).
The Lord Jesus Christ was no sluggard. He knew His time to work was short, so He applied Himself diligently (John 9:4). He always pleased His Father (John 8:29), finished every assignment (Jn 4:34), was extremely zealous (Jn 2:17), focused on the hard assignment in Jerusalem (Luke 9:51), and despised the painful shame of it (Heb 12:2). Do everything in your life as unto Him, and follow His perfect example of faithful diligence.