Christian Fellowship 1997-01-14 - Idleness

"Proverbs 6: 9-11, "How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?..."

There is nothing wrong with taking a break, lets say that at the outset. When I study at the library I get up every hour at the top of the hour and walk around for 5 minutes or so. Idleness is different than taking a break. Idleness is a lifestyle that some have adopted. Thomas Watson is full of wisdom in all that he wrote many years ago, but even more so when he speaks about idleness. Watson simply says, "Idleness tempts the devil to tempt". Slothfulness does several things to us:

  1. It stupefies us. It makes us take no mind for our affairs as if we were senseless. The slothful take the talents that God has given them and bury them. Their lives are burdens of uselessness. I say burdens because it takes work to be idle. The saints have renewed affections and have been transformed in Christ to live lives of holiness and service. It takes work to suppress our new natures. It requires effort to chill and freeze a renewed heart so that it becomes unprofitable and lulled to sleep.
  2. The sluggard refuses to work (Prov. 21:25, 19:15). The sluggards hands are as fit for working as anyone else's, but they will not work. It is ironic that the sluggard often dreams of greatness and wealth. But their laziness deprives them of the very things that they long for and desire.
  3. The sluggard has a brother. The best mental picture of the sluggard that I can drum up is that of someone standing before a task to accomplish sucking his thumb. The sluggard lets everything run through his fingers. This includes things of a spiritual nature. The sluggard is too careless to make a real effort in prayer or to labor diligently in hearing a sermon. The brother of the sluggard is someone who does not pray or listen at all. Omitting the duty of faithful prayer is the same thing as committing the sin of not praying.

"Ah, doubting Christians! Remember this, that the promise of assurance and comfort is made over, not to lazy but to laborious Christians; not to idle but to active Christians; not to negligent but to diligent Christians....The lazy Christian has his mouth full of complaints, when the active Christian has his heart full of comforts." Thomas Brooks

"Sin brought in sweat (Genesis 3:19), but now, not to sweat increases sin." John Flavel

"The proud person is Satan's throne, and the idle man his pillow. He sits in the former and sleeps quietly on the later." George Swinnock

"O spend your time as you would hear of it in the judgment!" Richard Baxter

Soli Deo Gloria,