Wisdom & the Sluggard

TEXT: Proverbs 24:30-34

“Sluggard” is not a word we use much today. In the Bible, it’s only found in Proverbs. It basically means a person who is lazy. So the first place we need to start is to affirm a biblical understanding of work.

-Work is a gift from God. Before sin ever entered the picture, work was one of the things that God created and called it “good”.

Work is a means of worship unto God. money is not the primary purpose of work. The primary purpose of work is to be a means of worshiping and glorifying God. (See also 1 Cor. 10:31)

1. The sluggard neglects, but wisdom stewards.
A steward is one who cares for what belongs to another. The sluggard leans on his own understanding, which all amount to nothing. And as a result, he neglects what he should be caring for and tending to. The sluggard is a poor steward (see Prov. 24:30-31). And because of his neglect, the sluggard finds himself in trouble. It could be financial trouble since he has not honored God with his work. It could be laziness in not pursuing relationship, and they find themselves lonely and bitter. (See Prov. 12:11; 15:19).

2. The sluggard procrastinates, but wisdom initiates.
The sluggard waits when he should act. He procrastinates, he puts off for tomorrow what he should do today. Wisdom teaches him to look at the ant (6:6-11). The ant’s entire existence is made up of being what God called it to be, and therefore the ant glorifies its Creator. And that’s what the sluggard needs to learn. We were made by God to glorify Him with our thoughts, our efforts, our work – and everything else in our lives. But a sluggard doesn’t like to work, and when he does, he does a poor job. He procrastinates, hoping that someone else will do what is difficult. (See Prov. 18:9; 19:24; 20:4; 26:13-14)

3. The sluggard craves comfort, but wisdom honors God.
The sluggard craves his own comfort. He loves sleep (24:33). And because a sluggard wants comfort more than God, he often finds himself facing lack (24:34; 19:15; 20:13). Like all of us, for the sluggard’s sin, the gospel is the answer. When the gospel changes our hearts, it changes what we value. Instead of valuing our own comforts, we honor God when we work so that we will have something – not just for ourselves – but that we would have something to share with those in need. This honors God. (See Eph. 4:28; Phil. 2:13)

Ask yourself:

-What should I be doing that I have been avoiding?
-What is God calling me to steward, that I am neglecting?
-Where I am procrastinating? What is the responsibility I should be giving myself to, that I am casting off?
-Where I am craving comfort, more than Jesus?
-Wherever I struggle in these areas, how is the gospel the answer for me?

If we’re honest, we may all see some aspect of the sluggard in our own hearts. As God reveals these answers to you, we don’t need to just see that and feel bad. May it cause us to turn and see Jesus. As I see my sin, I want to run to Jesus with it, trust in His forgiveness, and ask Him to change me. And He will.

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