Summary: We can all benefit from a study of the sluggard because too much of him lies in too many of us. Though we may not exhibit his characteristics to such a full extent we can certainly profit from a gentle but straight forward thrust the Holy Spirit sends in
PROVERBS 26: 12-16
To Solomon, negligence was one of the greatest evils in the character of man. How frequently he depicts it with graphic force (24:30-34)! How often he denounces it with fiery energy (20:4; 6:6-11)! Idleness and indulgence are the great Dead Sea of life and in that stagnant sludge the most beneficial blessings can produce no good.
We can all benefit from a study of the sluggard because too much of him lies in too many of us. Though we may not exhibit his characteristics to such a full extent and thus are not labeled slackers we can certainly profit from a gentle but straight forward thrust the Holy Spirit sends in our direction. And we must, for a loafer will not acknowledge nor deal with his problem (CIT).
Let me make two observations before we begin. First, the slacker is not some sort of abnormal person. He or she is an ordinary man or woman who simply makes too many postponements or excuses for opportunities in life. Second, being a sluggard once in awhile is one of the great pleasures of life, as pleasurable as sleeping in on a rainy day. But this occasional reprieve is not to become characteristic of anyone.
Let us look at the slacker [neglectful] that we might gain greater insight for living.
I. THE AVOIDANCE OF WORK, 13.
A slacker will use any excuse to avoid actual work. Verse 13 portrays the bizarre, even ridiculous measures a loafer will go to avoid leaving his house or working. "The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!'"
The sluggard or lazy person rarely recognizes himself even when boldly confronted with the reality of his problem. When the slacker is confronted with his laziness, with the facts that show he is accomplishing little with life, he always has an excuse. Even a ridiculous excuse is creditable to the sluggard.
There is a lion in the road is his cry (22:13). His mind is filled with imaginary hindrances to work and no explanation will change his resistance. Streets are unlikely places for lions to inhabit. Their homes are secluded dens, isolated forests and uninhabited wildernesses. If they are found in streets, it is rare. The excuses of the slothful man are purely imaginary. The thoughts are the invention of his own brain to avoid going out to work and even an attempt to scare others from needful labors.
He uses every excuse available to avoid work. Proverb 20:4 reads, "The sluggard does not plow after autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing." If he is a farmer he neglects the cultivation of his fields because the weather is too cold, in summer its too hot, too wet in the spring, etc. (His laziness is of his own choosing and God carefully links eating with working so he should receive no sympathy.) The slothful man always finds a reason not to step out or act in faith.
About the only thing the slacker works is his imagination which he uses to justify his unwillingness to work. Even if there was a lion in the town square, if he had a spark of noble manhood in him, he would arouse the stuff that makes heros and go forth to drive off the danger. Helpless women and children are in danger when ravenous beasts roam the streets, immediate action ought to be taken. There are no gallant actions in the indolent.
II. ACTIVE INACTIVITY, 14 & 15.
In verse 14 we see that a sluggard is not willing to exert the energy needed to get up. "As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed"
The sluggard seems anchored to his bed as a door is to its frame. As the door swings on its hinges (6:9) and goes nowhere so indeed the sluggard moves but makes no progress. A door has a lot of movement but never gets anywhere. All a slackers movements or efforts are to enable him or her to blow off getting up, getting moving, and getting out to work. [He's just not getting it - or getting it done.] The alarm sounds and the slacker shuts it off; rolls over and goes back to sleep. His wife or his mother says get up but he just rolls over and goes back to sleep.
Verse 15 pictures a lazy person unwilling to feed himself because it requires exertion. "The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again." [19:24, 12:27]
Even in absolutely necessary things of life his disposition is seen. The slacker takes food down in large bits so he does not have to bring his hand back and forth so often or cut the food up into smaller bits. He probably doesn't even chew his food well. The less a person exerts himself the more indisposed he becomes to exertion till even the slightest effort like getting up to change channels or to answer the phone becomes an inconvenience. [So we have invented more conveniences so we no longer need to get up from our comfiness.]