House of the Righteous
Diligence and Laziness
 
The Characteristics of Diligence and Laziness
 
Proverbs makes it clear that diligence - being willing to work hard and do one's best at any job given to him or her - is a vital part of wise living. We work hard not to become rich, famous or admired (although those may be byproducts), but to serve God with our very best during our lives.
 
The Diligent The Lazy References in Proverbs
Get rich Are soon poor 10:4
Hard work is wise Laziness causes one to sleep away
opportunities
10:5
  Are a pain to their employers 10:26
Hard work gives prosperity Only fools idle away the time 12:11
Hard work returns blessings   12:14
Become leaders Never succeeed 12:24
Make good use of everything they find Waste good opportunities 12:27
Prosper Want much but get little 13:4
Bring profit Experience poverty 14:23
Have an easy path Have trouble all through life 15:19
  Have idle hands, which are the devil's
workshop
16:27
  Become saboteurs 18:9
  Sleep soundly and go hungry 19:15
  Are so lazy they won't feed themselves 19:24
Work even when inconvenient in order to
reap the reward
  20:4
Stay awake, work hard Love sleep and end in poverty 20:13
Are steady plodders, reaping prosperity Make hasty speculations, leading to poverty 21:5
  Love pleasure and become poor 21:7
Love to give Desire things but refuse to work for them 21:25, 26
  Are full of excuses for not working 22:13
Will be successful and stand before kings   22:29
  Sleep too much which leads to poverty 24:30-34
  Refuse to work but think themselves wise 26:13-16
Reap prosperity through hard work Experience poverty because of laziness 28:19
 
Source: Life Application Bible
 
 
Thoughts on Laziness
 

According to the secular worldview, we are supposed to feel sorry for them, tolerate them and accept their excuses for being lazy. However, according to the Bible we should hate laziness and slothfulness. Paul stated that if anybody does not work, neither should he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10). This is not referring to a person who is temporarily out of a job or who is temporarily injured.

The body of Christ is instructed to take care of the poor, but over time this area was taken over by the government, and they are doing it in such a way that laziness and slothfulness are being facilitated. People out of work are not being encouraged to reenter the job market. There are very little incentive for people to educate themselves or seek employment, to the contrary, the benefits of not working and depending on the government is too great.

It is not prudent for Christians to help out a lazy person, thereby facilitating their disobedience.

 
 
 
The Poor and the Lazy
Excerpt from an article, Helping the Poor, by Randy Alcon of Eternal Perspective Ministries
 

It is a fundamental error to lump together all of the “poor,” as if they were a monolithic group. Both Scripture and experience teach us that not all people are poor for the same reasons, and therefore not all can ultimately be helped by the same means.

I can think of at least fifteen reasons people may be poor: insufficient natural resources, adverse climate, lack of knowledge or skill, lack of needed technology or equipment, natural disaster (e.g. earthquake or flood), personal catastrophe (e.g. destruction of home or fields), poor health or physical handicap, mental handicap, exploitation and oppression by others, inability to find work, substance addiction, personal laziness, wasteful self-indulgence, personal choice to identify with and serve the poor (e.g. Mother Teresa), and religion or world view. (An example of the latter is the Hindu concept of karma which discourages improving one’s circumstances and results in people starving while one of their major God-given food sources, cattle, consumes another, grain.)

Cures must be tailor-made to the cause of an illness. One does not take chemotherapy to cure a cold, nor insulin to treat asthma. It is as ludicrous to use one stock formula to “help the poor” as it is to give all sick people the same treatment for every disease and expect it to heal them.

If a person is poor because his home has been destroyed by earthquake or flood, the solution may be to give him the money, materials and assistance to help him rebuild his home and reestablish his business. If he’s poor due to exploitation or oppression or injustice, we can offer immediate help while laboring for long-term legal, social, and economic reforms. When poverty is due to adverse climate, the poor need not just short-term relief, but long-term development that will give them the resources to prevent future poverty and hunger. (Some relief organizations are short-sighted, responding to present emergencies—as they should—but doing little to prevent future emergencies.)

If a person is homeless due to a mental handicap, we should seek to provide love, friendship and housing, find proper treatment and training in job skills. (Becoming a contributing member of society is often the best treatment for mental illness.) For those with addictions who want help, we can link them with rehabilitation and recovery groups. Again, giving short-term help without offering long-term solutions is counterproductive.

A person may be poor because of waste and self-indulgence—”He who loves pleasure will become poor” (Prov. 21:17). A man may make a decent income but waste it on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, expensive convenience foods, costly recreation, or gambling (including lotteries).

Many people manage to meet their family’s needs on very low incomes. Others make several times as much money, but are always “poor,” always in a financial crisis. This is not because their means are too little, but because they are living above their means. Trying to solve such a situation by throwing money at it is like trying to put out a fire by dousing it with gasoline.

When I was a pastor, we called a government agency to get the names of needy people. We drove to their homes with sacks of food, only to find people surrounded by conveniences that some of us contributing the food couldn’t afford or justify. I’ve seen people who perpetually “have no money” to buy groceries for their family, but have a boat, car or recreational vehicle worth $20,000 parked in their driveway! Such people need to be held accountable to liquidate their assets and feed their families, then learn to reorder their priorities and live within their means.

Some people are poor due to laziness. God’s Word says that the result of laziness will be poverty (Prov. 24:30-34). “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Prov. 10:4). “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry” (Prov. 19:15). “A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing” (Prov. 20:4). “The fool folds his hands and ruins himself” (Eccles. 4:5).

Every act of provision to a lazy person legitimizes and reinforces his laziness. It removes his incentives to be responsible for himself, and makes him more dependent on others. Paul commanded the Thessalonian church to stop taking care of the lazy and reminded them of this strict rule—”if a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). If we take this verse literally, and I do, it means it’s a sin to feed the lazy. The point is not to let people starve—the point is that faced with hunger they will be motivated to work and support themselves as God intends. “A worker’s appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on” (Prov. 16:26).

The lazy and self-indulgent do not need financial support, they need incentives to no longer be lazy and self-indulgent. “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry” (Prov. 19:15). As God-created nerve endings send the painful but life-saving message “take your hand out of the fire,” so hunger sends the life-saving message to the lazy person, “Stop being lazy and go to work.” That is, unless we circumvent God’s system by feeding the lazy. It is a serious error to invalidate the God-ordained mechanism that says “What you sow you will reap” (Gal. 6:7). By all means we must care for those whose circumstances and disabilities leave them poor. But any system—whether secular or religious—that feeds the able-bodied lazy is a counterproductive system. It does them and the rest of society a disservice. We become enablers and accomplices in the violation of God’s principles. The lazy man is poor by choice. We must do nothing to encourage that choice.

A nation, church or family that subsidizes the lazy spawns laziness. Since laziness leads to poverty, supporting the lazy breeds poverty.

What is Biblical Compassion?

I know from experience that many Christians will be uncomfortable, or even offended, by what I’ve just been saying. They will think, “This doesn’t sound compassionate.” But what sounds compassionate and what is compassionate are not always the same. Compassion must not be rooted simply in our feelings, or measured by our own subjective satisfaction in saying “I helped the poor.” True compassion sees and deals with the root of the problem. Compassionate parents don’t let their children watch whatever they want on TV, eat junk food all day, or play on the freeway—even though doing so may make the children happier (today), and make life easier for the parents (today). They don’t automatically give their child the new bicycle he wants—they tell him he can only have a new bicycle if he earns it, then they take the time and effort to show him how to earn it.

The fact is that many of us want to “help the poor” because of the good feeling it gives us. We are concerned about salving our consciences, not with whether our “help” has actually met their real long-term needs. But true compassion gives people what they need, not just what they want. Our primary calling is not to help others (or ourselves) feel good, but to help them be good. Shoveling money and goods at poor people may help us—and them—feel good for the short run. It takes more thought, time and commitment on our part—and theirs—to help them do what is best in the long run. It is terribly unfair to attribute all poverty to laziness. It is terribly unwise to try to help the lazy in the same way we help those who are truly in need.

Obviously, a person can be unemployed without being lazy. We need to help the unemployed with his immediate needs, but above all we need to help him find work. Sending him to classes, teaching him a skill, helping him write a resume, coaching him for a job interview—all these may be much more helpful than ongoing financial gifts. When work isn’t to be found, we need to provide it however we can. On a few occasions we’ve helped the unemployed by giving them work on our church grounds. I’ve come up with a variety of odd jobs around our house that are worthy and constructive. It’s important for people’s self-respect and initiative to maintain the God-ordained connection between work and income.

The Old Testament pattern of gleaning is a model of how to help the poor in the most positive way (Lev. 19:9-10). God said to leave the corners of the fields uncut so the poor could have food. But notice the grain was not cut, bundled, processed, ground, bagged, transported and delivered to the poor. Provided they were able, the poor were to go to the fields and do the work themselves. This way their needs were met, but they weren’t robbed of their dignity nor made irresponsible by a workless welfare system.

Churches need to help the poor not just by giving money or food, but personal attention—our time, our skills, and our personal interest. God may not just want us to open our pocketbooks, but our homes (Rom. 12:13).

What many people need is not more money, but personal help in handling the money they have. Good financial counseling, including how to make and stick to a reasonable budget, is a far more valuable gift than $500 to bail someone out of a situation he should never have gotten into in the first place. Direction in how to find and keep a job is much more helpful than putting groceries on a shelf while someone sits home and watches television all day. When a middle aged career person is laid off, he not only needs to find a new job, but may need support to avoid paralytic depression.

Some truly needy will be helped—but others will be reinforced in their laziness, and subsidized in their pursuit of harmful addictions. If by feeding a person tonight, we enable him to spend his money on alcohol rather than food, effectively are we doing anything different than just handing him a bottle?

Caring for the poor is a sobering responsibility for which we will all be held accountable—”If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered” (Prov. 21:13). We must seek to help the poor in the right way, but above all we must help them in some way. Helping the poor and homeless is not a peripheral issue. God links our efforts for the poor directly to our relationship with him. May he one day say of us what he said of King Josiah: “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” (Jer. 22:16).


Source: Helping the Poor and Homeless by Randy Alcon, Eternal Perspective Ministries, September 3, 2010
http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Mar/18/helping-poor-and-homeless/
 
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Scripture References
 
Topic Reference  
Laziness Proverbs 10:4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Laziness Proverbs 10:26 As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him.
     
     
     
 
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Reference Books and Resources
 
Articles

Slothfulness and Laziness
Commentary on Romans 12:11
by Andrew Wommack

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

     
 
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Bibliography
 

 

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS USED:

KJV. Scripture taken from the King James Version. Pulbic Domain.
NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
NLT. New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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