Written mostly by King Solomon nearly 3,000 years ago, the book of Proverbs is a treasure-trove of wisdom.

Most of the book is made up of individual nuggets of truth about different subjects, one of which is laziness. Solomon uses the words “sluggard” and “slothful,” which are from two animals the Lord created, perhaps to illustrate laziness. But unlike these two animals, the lazy person chooses to be lazy.

Proverbs 26:13-16 is a brief commentary on laziness. Always seeming to have excuses for his laziness, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion on the road! There is a lion in the street!’” (verse 13)

Sluggards usually love sleep. “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard in his bed.” (v 14)

In verse 15, Solomon exaggerates but the point is clear. “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it to his mouth.”

Sluggards often think they are quite wise. “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” (v 16) Notice “in his own eyes.” Sometimes everyone but the sluggard knows his foolishness.

Proverbs 10:26 tells us a sluggard can’t be depended on and will disappoint those who trust in him. “Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him.”

For the hunters, Proverbs 12:27 “Whoever is slothful will not roast his own game.” The hunting is fun, but skinning, cleaning and cooking it? No time for that.

Proverbs 24:30-34 gives anillustration of laziness. “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it: I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”

A sluggard often has great plans and desires but will not carry them out. “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” (21: 25)

“The sluggard does not plow in autumn; he will seek a harvest and have nothing.” (20:4)

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” (13:4)

The Lord made a little insect for the sluggard to observe and learn from. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” (6:6-11)

There is great danger in laziness. “The way of the sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the righteous is a level highway.” (15:19) Notice the danger is not only the pitfalls the sluggard creates for himself, but he is contrasted with “the upright,” which points to the fact that laziness is not simply a bad habit, but sin. This is the greatest danger of laziness.

There is another kind of laziness that is even worse. Most people are pretty lazy about their eternal souls, unwilling to take the time to seriously read the Bible and consider the claims of Jesus Christ found in the gospels, believing everyone goes to heaven in the end and that hell could not be a place they will ever experience, except perhaps while here on earth.

A wise man once said something along the lines of, people who don’t believe in the real God, don’t believe nothing. They believe anything. Has anybody noticed?

Charles Fitzpatrick is the pastor of Reibers Reformed Baptist Church near Shermans Dale.

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