The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.
What is worse than being lazy? Being lazy and wanting things! What a two-edged sword! The combination of loving nice things but hating to work is fatal. It kills the slothful man.
How frustrating to see things advertised, but love sleep, leisure, sports, and the Internet so much to refuse the needed work, so you have nothing (Pr 13:4). It is a just death.
How frustrating to watch the diligent climb the corporate ladder or prosper in business, but be so consumed by sloth you cannot figure out the least way to get ahead (Ec 10:15).
This proverb is closely connected to the next one, “He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not” (Pr 21:26). The death that sluggards experience is the ruin of their peace by their greedy and covetous desires while hating to work.
How smart are sluggards? They are fools. They want the comforts and pleasures others enjoy, but they refuse to work to get them. They are perverse. It is insanity to combine covetousness with slothfulness – for they oppose each other and drive the sluggard mad.
Is laziness a big problem? It is. Solomon is almost redundant with his many warnings (Pr 6:6-11; 10:4,26; 12:24,27; 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15,24; 20:4; 22:13; 24:30-34; 26:13-16). Examine yourself, reader. What should you be doing today that you have put off?
Diligence in business is part of true Christianity (Rom 12:11). What trait will elevate a man from being average to exceptional? Diligence (Pr 22:29)! What is by far the most dominant trait of the virtuous woman – the perfect wife? Diligence (Pr 31:10-31)!
It is foolish and sinful to comfort, debate, or feed a sluggard. If you comfort him, you give honor to a fool (Pr 19:10; 26:1,8). If you listen to him, you confound your own honor (Pr 26:4,13-16). If successful men give him reasons to work, he still thinks he is right (Pr 26:16). If you feed him, you support his laziness (Pr 20:4; II Thes 3:10).
What does America do to sluggards? All the above sins that are condemned by the Bible. What is the result? Arrogant assumption of entitlement, a daily increase of such leeches, and increasing demands by these sloths that would work if food were cut off (Pr 16:26)!
Seldom have so many done so little and demanded so much. Seldom have so few worked so hard to pay so much for so little. Seldom has a government punished workers so hard by taxation and inflation and rewarded sluggards so generously by subsidies and welfare.
Slothfulness now crosses racial, age, and sex lines. Cultural and national distinctions are less obvious (Tit 1:12). Students demand government pay for education, while defaulting on generous student loans. They argue and fight for their rights, but never consider their responsibilities. Sloth has killed conscience, character, community, and common sense.
America may have Moses, the Ten Commandments, or the Bible in conspicuous places, but there is no knowledge or application of them, even in this simple issue – there is no free lunch, and those who do not work should not eat (II Thess 3:10). This is not rocket science; this is basic economics. Anyone arguing against it is a fool (Pr 26:12,16).
What is the lesson? Avoid and condemn sluggards. They will ruin your business, if you hire them; ruin your reputation, if you give them a reference; and ruin your standing before God, if you comfort, debate, or feed them. Starve them to work before they kill themselves with covetous greed. See yourself their savior. Take a percentage of income.
What is the lesson? Avoid being a sluggard, or you deserve to be punished. Are you a self-starter like the ant (Pr 6:6-11)? Are you rising like cream to the top (Pr 22:29)? Is your business in tip-top shape (Pr 24:30-34)? Are you prepared for changes (Pr 27:23-27)? Do you have more than enough, so you can give generously (Pr 21:26; Eph 4:28)?
What is the lesson? Teach your children and others under your influence to be diligent, for it is godly and right. Chores for children, once a natural law, now sound abusive. If children do not help with household duties, they should not receive kitchen privileges. They will learn quickly. If you run a business, fire the sluggards, and bonus the diligent.
What is the bigger lesson? Most desire heaven, but very few work toward it. Their souls refuse to labor for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life (John 6:27). They want the wide gate and broad way (Matt 7:13-14). They want to sleep and be drunk with the rest of the world (I Thess 5:6-7). They will not endure sound doctrine (II Tim 4:3-4).
The spiritually diligent press into the kingdom by force (Matt 11:12; Luke 16:16). They strive to enter at the strait gate (Luke 13:24). They give all diligence to make their calling and election sure (II Pet 1:5-11). Their faith works, their love labors, and their hope endures (I Thes 1:2-4; Jas 2:14-26). God will never forget their loving service (Heb 6:10).
Great Christians are diligent toward heaven and on earth, in that order, with a clear priority, and they do not neglect their business duties. They are exemplary before God and men. They follow their Lord and Master, Who said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).