Proverbs 26:16

The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.


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Lazy people always have excuses. They will not admit they are lazy. Their arrogance rejects correction and instruction, which is a horrible curse (Pr 26:12). They make up haughty excuses for being underemployed and always behind their peers. If seven noble and successful men say slothfulness is the reason, the sluggard scornfully rejects it.

A sluggard is a naturally or habitually slow and lazy person. He does not like work or exertion; he prefers idleness and rest. He is slothful in duties. He moves slowly, loves to talk, and paces himself through jobs. He does not like sweat; he is afraid of speed; and focused application is something he has never tried. He would rather talk, play, or sleep.

Sluggards can be amazingly arrogant. They refuse to admit their faults. They devise excuses to justify their inferior work habits compared to diligent and successful men. They scornfully think they are superior to these prosperous men; they blame other forces beyond their control for keeping them from the same success. They are fools (Pr 12:15).

Sluggards are seen early. Even a child is known by his doings (Pr 20:11). Hard working young men do not become lazy old men, and young sluggards do not become diligent old men. Habits of youth become habits of old age. The inferior character and training of the sluggard will punish him with poverty and trouble throughout life (Pr 6:6-11; 10:4; 13:4; 19:15; 20:13). Parents must eliminate this fault and teach good work attitudes and habits.

Sluggards with inferior schooling will blame their lack of education, though there are many rich men with less. Sluggards of a different color will blame their race, though there are rich men of various colors in their city. Sluggards from the poor side of town will blame their upbringing, though other men have moved across town by diligent labor.

Discrimination is just an excuse for sluggards. A man of any educational or racial background, or from an inferior family, will find success if he is diligent on the job. Employers do not care about color, ethnic groups, or grade point averages in school, if a man is the most punctual, dedicated, and energetic employee in the office or plant. But, of course, sluggards always blame a conspiracy or discrimination for their poverty.

What is the cure for a sluggard? Let him starve (Pr 20:4; II The 3:10)! Feeding a sluggard encourages him to be lazy. Sluggards do not deserve charity. Today’s society perpetuates slothfulness by providing welfare safety nets for lazy persons. There is no better teacher than hunger, for a man’s belly will force him to get to work (Pr 16:26; Eccl 6:7).