Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, February fifteenth. Today's program examines the sensitive subject of laziness so we can be alert to and remove obstacles that keep us from following God. The men and women who founded this country were people who were diligent, hard workers. They were courageous. They were bold. They were persistent. They had many wonderful qualities about them. Did they have obstacles? Yes. Would they give up easy?
Never. They had a quality about them that oftentimes we look around and wonder, whatever happened to that kind of work ethic? Where is that kind of courage and boldness in our country today?
What about these people who never thought about working just a few hours and making sure they had lots of vacations and all the rest? They had something far more interesting in mind, something that challenged them. They worked with goals in mind.
They wanted to accomplish something in the life of this nation. And I believe they had qualities that we still need today. And sometimes their qualities expose what we're missing in some areas of our life. Well, the apostle Paul has something very, very strong to say about our lifestyle, our work ethic, and all the rest. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to second Thessalonians. And I want us to look at this third chapter and beginning in verse six. And Paul is writing to a group of people in the Thessalonian church that had the idea that you shouldn't work so hard.
And that other people ought to sort of make it easier for you. And some of them are saying, well, Jesus is coming soon. Paul, that's what you said.
You implied that. Therefore, we're just sort of waiting for Him to come until then we're going to sort of take it easy. Well, listen to what Paul wrote to them and some very strong words in this, beginning in verse six of this third chapter. He says, Now we command you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you receive from us. Now, that unruly there means they just sort of walking around, sloughing off, and not taking things very seriously.
They were being slothful. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we wouldn't be a burden to anyone. Not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you so that you would follow our example.
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order. If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now, such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him so that he'll be put to shame. Yet, do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Now, may the Lord of peace Himself continue to grant you peace in every circumstance, the Lord be with you all. Now, think about what he said. He said, if somebody, for example, around you, somebody you work with maybe is slothful, they're lazy and they don't care. They're not conscientious about what they're doing.
They don't have any goal to get the job done. He says, stay away from them. Now, you say, well, that's not very loving and that's not very kind.
Yes, it is. But here's what he knew. He knew that the person who is slothful and lazy and who's let somebody else do their job, that oftentimes they are a very bad but effective influence on people who are energetic and want to do a good job. For example, if you work in a situation where you're going to get paid no matter what and it doesn't make any difference, and here you are wanting to do your best, you go to work, you're excited, you want God to use you, you want to be your best, do your best, look your best.
And you want to achieve your best because you are a representative of Jesus Christ and you're a follower of His. And so, the other people around you say, no, no, wait, wait a minute. Now, don't, listen, if you are doing all this, then they're going to expect us to do what you do. They're going to expect us to work as hard as you work. Now, before you got in this office, we didn't have to work very hard.
We started to take it easy and we didn't have to punch your clock and not only that, if we were over a little bit, if we came in a little bit late, if we left a little bit early, nobody said anything. But look, you're making it very difficult for us. That's why Paul said, don't associate with them because they can be a bad influence and have a bad impact on somebody else's life. Because there are lots of people who are not very conscientious, they're not very reliable, they're not faithful, they're not trustworthy, and their attitude is do as little as you can. Now, when you think about the very word, slothful.
In the New American Standard, that word is usually translated sluggard. King James, slothful is the same word. And sometimes it's translated lazy or a lack of diligence. And so, if you'll think about it, all of us who are followers of Jesus ought to be trustworthy, reliable, godly people whose influence and testimony is certainly anything but lazy. And slothful and just non-conscientious about what we do. And the very opposite of that, of course, is to be disciplined and to be diligent, to give it our best. At what point in your life and mind should we not be giving it our best? What kind of circumstance can we say, well, you know, I'm just, just forget it today and I'm just going to slough off today.
Well, if that's on your day off, that's one thing if you want to do. But if we're working for someone else, we represent the Son of God. And this is one thing I think many Christians forget. You and I represent Jesus whether you're on the golf course, whether you're out fishing with your buddy, whether you're in church, on your job, it doesn't make any difference, or sitting on a plane next to someone else. We represent Jesus. We claim to be followers of Him. And so, our conduct, our character, our conversation should always represent that because at no point do you and I have the right as a follower of Jesus to say, ah, well, it doesn't make any difference today.
It makes a difference every single day. Now, what I'd like to do is this. I want to take you just in the book of Proverbs. And I want to take you through a series of passages in the book of Proverbs. And I want to show you what the Bible says about a slothful, lazy person. I want to show you what the Bible says.
Then I want to show you what God's attitude toward that person is. And so, I want us to begin with, let's begin with Proverbs chapter twenty. And we'll just go through these.
They're not all in consecutive order on purpose. But let's look at this twentieth chapter of Proverbs and we're going to take care of a number of them. And let's begin with the twentieth chapter and the fourth verse because what we're talking about here is this. That a slothful person is a procrastinator. Now watch this. The sluggard, verse four, does not plow after the autumn when he should.
So he begs during the harvest and he has nothing. Now here's what a procrastinator does. Procrastinator says, man, I'm going to get to it. I'm going to do it. Well, when are you going to do it? Well, I'm getting to it.
And what am I going to do? Well, I'm going to do it tomorrow. Or I'm going to do it when I feel a little better.
When I have a little bit more energy. And here procrastinators are always going to. And if and when they ever get started, when are you going to finish? Well, I'm going to finish at that some point. You know, don't push me, don't rush me.
And what happens? Most of the time they never finish it. Now I have to ask the question, what motivates a procrastinator? Well, probably several things motivate people who procrastinate and just put it off, put it off, put it off.
And again, if you practice that at home, then what do your children say? I'll tell you something else. What woman wants to be married to a man who's a procrastinator who never does on time what he promises to do?
If you're a woman who wants to be married to a man like that, say, I do. That's what I thought, dead silent. So, the truth is, procrastinators are problems. And so, one of the things that motivates a procrastinator is fear. It's not the only thing, but sometimes it's just lazy, pure lazy. But sometimes it's fear. A procrastinator sometimes is so afraid of not doing it right they never get started. They're so afraid that they're not going to do it perfectly.
So afraid they're not going to please someone else. And so, well I'm going to. Now it's not excusable, but I'm going to.
I plan to. And one of these days, they don't push me. And see, they don't like anybody putting a little pressure on them. Procrastination is an ungodly attitude and it's an ungodly activity. For example, there'll be many people who will never reach heaven because they will say to us, well, I'm going to church one of these days.
When you're going, well, you know what, don't push me. I'm going to church. I'm going to accept Jesus. I've heard this many times. More than likely, I'm going to be a Christian before I die. But the thing they forget is it could happen today.
And so, they put it off. Many people be lost because, humanly speaking, they just procrastinate. I'm going to one of these days. I'm going to change one of these days. I'm going to stop drinking one of these days. I'm going to stop smoking one of these days, one of these days, one of these days.
You never get anywhere until you make a definite, deliberate choice with a date on it, today or whatever it might be. So, one of those biblical illustrations of a person who's slothful is that they are a procrastinator. Now, look in the twenty-second Psalm, a proverb, excuse me, and verse, look if you will at twenty-two, verse thirteen. Here's what he says. A person, for example, who's slothful, they just avoid work.
Watch this. A person who is slothful will find an excuse for not doing what they ought to do. Looking for an excuse, they manufacture excuses. And so, what is he saying? He's simply giving us a warning here. The sluggard says, there's a lie on that side.
He doesn't know whether there is or not. I'll be killed in the streets. I mean, it's just an excuse for not doing what a person ought to do. And you see, what we don't realize is the impact upon our children. When you promise your son or your daughter you're going to do something, and you say, well, you know, I had to work a little longer. And you give an excuse for not being trustworthy and reliable because you're just downright lazy and you just don't want to go to this ballgame with them and you just don't want to take her shopping.
And then what happens? They lose heart. And their attitude, their attitude toward their parents oftentimes is not good. And a parent says, well now, why don't you do what I tell you? And sometimes these kids probably think, well, why don't you do what you promised?
Because it's the same thing. A person who's slothful, you can count on them. That's what they're going to do.
They're going to avoid all the work they possibly can. And if you will look in the sixth chapter, I want you to see another characteristic that Proverbs says, sixth chapter and the ninth verse. Look back there for a moment. Sixth chapter and the ninth verse and notice what the Scripture says here. A person who is slothful wastes time and they waste their talents and skills by not doing what they should do.
He says, for example, ninth verse, how long will you lie down, old sluggard, old slothful person? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, your poverty will come in like a vagabond. Now, a person who's slothful wastes time. Time is the most valuable thing you and I have. If you'll think about it, your time is your life. That's your life you're wasting away.
Your talents and your skills and your abilities. When we are slothful and we don't put our time, talents and abilities and skills to work, we're wasting time. We're wasting whose time? We're wasting God's time, His gift that He's given us. Why did He give us? For example, why did He give us the gifts that He's given us and the time that He's given us? Because He wants us to use it for Himself. We're followers of Jesus.
We represent Him. And to waste time and to waste talents and to waste skills and abilities that God has given us, He says it's slothfulness and it's a sin. Turn it to the tenth proverb for a moment. And I want you to look, if you will, at this twenty-sixth verse. And look at what he says.
He says, a person who's slothful, for example, can't be depended upon. And he says it in this light, like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes. Now, I don't know whether you've ever had a big drink of vinegar, just take it straight. And what does it do to your teeth? It just makes it feel sort of thick or something.
And then smoke to the eyes. So is the lazy one to those who send him. Listen, that means totally not dependable at all. And when a person talks about being dependable, trustworthy, a slothful person isn't. There's something always wrong.
They just can't get it together. And so, you ask yourself the question, have you allowed yourself to be in a position in your life where you're always giving an excuse, that there's always something wrong, rather than doing your best? You see, excuses don't fit who we are. The question is, can I, am I doing my best? Listen, your best and my best may not be anywhere close to somebody else's best. God doesn't compare us with someone else. He just wants us to do our best. He has equipped every single one of us to do our best at whatever He calls us to do. And He's willing to help us improve in everything we do. The question is, do we just sort of do as little as we can or you're always striving to do better?
Look your best, do your best, be your best. It's a decision we make. It takes energy.
It takes time. And you can't listen to other people say, well, my feeling is I think you ought to do thus and so and you ought to look like this and all the rest. But I want you to turn to the twenty-fifth proverb for a moment and I want you to look at this verse of Scripture. Twenty-fifth proverb says in verse nineteen. It says, like a bad tooth, that is a toothache may be an absence tooth, really a hurting bad. Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot, that is something's wrong with your foot and you can't walk very well, is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
In other words, you can't trust him. Now, what Paul is saying, and he's saying something very strong here when he says, he says, separate yourself that is don't let yourself be influenced and impacted by a lazy person. Because all the, listen, let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever really been inspired and motivated by a lazy person? You're not, they don't motivate you. He says, separate yourself from them. It doesn't mean to be unkind. And he says, now don't treat them like an enemy. He says you need to pray for them. But you're not going to be influenced in a positive fashion to do better at anything by the laziness, the slothfulness of a person who doesn't seem to care.
So therefore, he says, separate yourself from them. He doesn't want us being influenced by that. And if you look around today, there are a lot of people who seemingly don't care. They don't care how they look. They don't care what they do.
They don't care how they get along in life. And so what happens? They're a bad testimony and a bad witness. Well, look in the nineteenth proverb for a moment. And let's look at the twenty-fourth verse. Nineteenth proverb.
Listen to what he says. For example, he says in verse twenty-four, speaking of those who are slothful, and he says, the slugger that buries his hand in the dish, but will not even bring it to his mouth. Now, that's pretty lazy. In other words, when you're sitting down in front of a plate of something really good and you don't think you can quite get it to your mouth, you've got to be rather lazy and slothful. And this is his way of saying a lazy person. You know what that says?
It says they want somebody to do something for them. Now, when do you feed someone else? When the child is a baby. A little baby can't feed themselves. Or the person becomes very ill in life and can't.
But anywhere between very, very, very small babyhood and great sickness, a person ought to be able to feed themselves. A person who's slothful, he says some people are so slothful, they just want somebody to do everything for them. I've met a few people like that.
They didn't inspire me to do anything but run the other way. For the simple reason, that's not who you and I are. Listen, we are believers. We are followers of Jesus. We represent Him. We're His ambassadors. People have the right to look at you and me and say, follower of Jesus? Yes. Follower of Jesus?
Forget that. And so, what he's doing here in the book of Proverbs is just giving us one illustration after the other. Look in the twenty-sixth chapter for a moment and look in the sixteenth verse.
Twenty-sixth chapter in the sixteenth verse. And here, notice what he's saying. He says, the sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer.
What is he saying? People who are slothful, they live in a fog. They don't see things as they are.
They've already decided what they're not going to do and how they're going to do it and what they're going to do. They're a bad testament or they're a bad witness and they're fooling themselves. Because the twelfth verse of the same chapter says, do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. And so, what is he simply saying? Simply this, that a person oftentimes who's slothful, you know, after a while, they don't even see it.
They just think, you know, I'm getting along all right. I'm doing as little as I can. And what I want you to see is a follower of Jesus because you and I do and how we do it, how well we do it, how persistent we are, how diligent we are, how committed we are, how loyal and faithful and devoted we are to the people we work for. We have a testimony. And that testimony ought to ring loud and clear. Thank you for listening to The Landmine of Slothfulness. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 10:49:20 / 2023-02-22 10:58:23 / 9