Summary: Part five of this series focuses on Romans 12:11 pertaining to being slothful in handling our business.
A Living Sacrifice To God
Scriptures: Romans 12:11
This is part five of my series “A Living Sacrifice to God.” This morning we will be looking at verse eleven where Paul continues to explain to the Christians in Rome what it means to have a renewed mind.
When I was young my father worked several odd jobs in addition to his full-time job in order to make ends meet. He would often take my brother and me to work with him. One of the jobs he had was doing yard work for one of the local physicians in town. We would be out there working and it would be hot and tiring. When I got tired of course I would start goofing off as kids do. My father would remind me to get back to work and I would do enough “to get by.” As I half worked, I would keep an eye out for the physician so that when he drove up he would see me hard at work with my dad. One day my father looked at me and said, “Rodney you really got to work when you saw the doctor drive up.” When the doctor was paying my father for the work we had done, he looked at my brother and me and said we were hard workers. My father looked at me with a look that said, “You may have fooled him but not me.” I had several of those instances as I was growing up. A few years later I accepted the fact that my work was representative of me. This started when I joined the Boy Scouts. I learned that how I did a job was indicative of who I was. I had a choice; I could be known as a hard worker or my reputation could be one of someone who was lazy. I chose to work hard because this is what I saw in both of my parents. This is the mentality that Paul addresses in Romans 12:11 which says, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
Do you know that when you begin walking with God your relationship with Him will show up in how you handle your business? Do you know that you cannot have a renewed mind and operating with the Spirit of God leading you and be a problem child on your job at the same time? How we handle our business (spiritually and naturally) is evidence of a spiritually renewed mind because with your renewed mind you will think differently about your jobs and how you do it. You won’t see yourself as serving “the man” but as serving your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is how you will show up!
How many of you have worked with someone who was a Christian and yet they were lazy on their jobs? They got the job, accepts their paycheck every week, and yet you know that they are not fully doing the job they are getting paid to do? How many of you know people who were fired from their jobs because they refused to do the work and once fired they talked about filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination? How many of you work with people who on the surface does everything right in Church but on their jobs nobody likes them because they are mean and lazy? There is not much worse than a Christian who is both mean and lazy! I point these examples out because in the midst of telling the Christians in Rome how to live with a renewed mind, Paul suddenly throws in the thought that they should not be lazy in doing their business. And I want to say up front that your “business” is not just your secular employment, but anything that you are supposed to be responsible for. It includes the business you handle on your job and in your personal life. Christians are not supposed to be lazy, but diligent hard workers as they are working for the Lord. I want you to understand this because it affects every area of our lives, even when we were kids. Young people, I want you to know that this applies to you also. If you are being lazy in school and not doing your best, you are not doing what God would have you to do as His child. He expects our best in everything we do, from how we complete our school work to how we do our chores.
When you read what Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, it appears that he was addressing some lazy attitudes in the Church. You know the ones. He said, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” The word “slothful” comes from the Greek word okneros which means lazy or idle. It carries the idea of a person who has a do-nothing, lethargic, apathetic, indifferent, and lukewarm attitude toward life. Someone who walks around with little desire to achieve anything believing what will be will be. This word slothful is the same word that Jesus used in Matthew 25:26 in the story of the talents. One servant did nothing with what his master had entrusted him with so when the master returned, he was not happy with him. This is what the master said to that servant, “His lord answered and said unto him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not spread: you ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with interest.’ Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him who has ten talents. For unto everyone that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has. And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:26-30) How many of you know that this story about the talents was really a story about our being busy doing the Work of the Kingdom? We do not have time to be lazy or idle. This lazy, wicked servant was cast into outer darkness because he produced nothing significant with the resources that had been entrusted to him. In the context of these verses, both “slothful” and “wicked” denote an attitude of apathy that should have no place at all in the life of a Christian.