Summary: “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord slothfully...” The “work of the Lord is not to be done negligently, with slackness. Sloth is disastrous to the believer.
The Deadly Sin of Sloth
“Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully...”
In this passage of Scripture before us the Chaldeans were to destroy the Moabites, which is called the work of the Lord, because God had commission them to do so. It was not to be done partially or in a careless and negligent manner, but they were to fully and faithfully carry out their orders. They were not to be like King Saul when he spared the Amalekites, and Ahab Benhadad. This verse clearly stated the “work of the Lord was not to be done negligently, with slackness. It was to be carried out to the letter with fervency and zeal. This is a general rule, which may be applied to any work and/or service that God has given to you and me. Failure to do so is disastrous to the believer. Failure to do so is to be guilty of the sin of sloth. - adadpted
I. Characteristics of sloths
A. Sloths move only when necessary and even then very slowly. Sloths are extremely slow-moving mammals. Actually they are world's slowest mammal, so sedentary that algae grow on its furry coat. Travel at 0.15 mph just ahead of the garden snail. Just because sloths usually move slowly, doesn't mean they're physically limited to a snail's pace. It’s their nature.
B. Sloths are very still for most of the day. Part of the reason is self preservation. Donald E. Moore, associate director of animal care at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D. summed up the sloth mission statement as "Avoid being eaten by eagles." He went on to say “There's no real defense against something that's willing to dive bomb a tree, flip upside down and grab you off a vine. You're really better off if they just don't see you."
C. Infant sloths normally cling to their mothers' fur, but occasionally fall off. Sloths, however, are very sturdily built and rarely die from a fall. Some die not from the fall but because the mothers prove unwilling to leave the safety of the trees to retrieve the young.
II. Characteristics of a Slothful Person
1. Proverbs 20:4 “The sluggard (slothful person) will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.”
2. He procrastinates always postponing making a decision for salvation or service, getting involved in church or sowing the seeds of the Gospel to the lost.
3. Acts 24:25 “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”
4. Many pass lazily through life with little if any commitment to serving Christ.
B. Makes excuses
1. Proverbs 22:13 “The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.”
2. Luke 14:16 – 24 “Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
3. "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." – Benjamin Franklin
C. Wastes both his time and talents
1. Proverbs 18:9 “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.”
2. W.C. Fields had a great desire to keep his wealth a secret, so he reportedly tucked his money away in over 200 different bank accounts all across the United States and Europe. Fearing someone would find him out, he opened each account under an assumed name! When Fields died, the executors of his estate encountered an overwhelming nightmare! Ultimately they were able to track down only 45 of Fields' bank accounts. It is estimated that well over half a million dollars was never found. In the end, then, W.C. Fields' great wealth was largely wasted, all because he insisted upon hiding it away. YOU are wealthy. Your talents, skills, and abilities are intangible forms of great wealth. So, what are you doing with your wealth? Are you investing it wisely by sharing your talents with others? Or are you hiding it away, rationalizing, "I'll use it SOMEDAY"? –"The Speaker's Sourcebook 2" (Prentice-Hall), pp. 6-7.