Summary: The worst sluggard of all is the spiritual sluggard.
INTRO.- ILL.- A teacher gave a subject for composition class. The subject given was the word, “WHAT?” For an hour, the whole class busily expounded and defined this word. One boy, however, submitted his paper in only 1 minute and left the class. On his paper, he had written: “SO WHAT?”
Was he being cute or lazy, or perhaps both? Probably both.
Many young people don’t want to do the work when it comes to school. And it takes work to make decent grades.
ILL.- My twin sister visited us last week and she said to me, “Steve, don’t you remember sleeping through the first grade?” I said, “No, I don’t.” I must have been tired, sleepy or else lazy.
Take your choice. Some children can make good grades without much work, but they are few and far between. My sister made the top ten in our graduating high school class, but she also worked hard to get there. I just graduated.
ILL.- The man told his doctor that he wasn’t able to do all the things around the house that he used to do. When the examination was finished, he said, "Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what is wrong with me?"
"Well, in plain English," the doctor replied, "you’re just plain lazy." "Okay," said the man. "Now give me the medical term so I can tell my wife."
Brothers and sisters, the lazy person is a sluggard. He is perhaps related to what we call a “slug,” which is a little slimy, fat, slow-moving creature and not fit for much good except for fish bait.
Laziness is a problem. It’s a problem that we all deal with and in nearly every area of life.
ILL.- Sign at highway construction site: “Men working ahead—we hope.”
ILL.- Just after Elaine and I moved here, we had a man come to remove some border in our living room and then paint the room. He wasn’t at our house more than an hour and then left. He also left a note, saying he couldn’t do the work. WHY NOT? We don’t know if he was lazy or had been out the night before.
We’ve all seen people who wouldn’t work or would do as little as possible in order to keep their job. But laziness doesn’t just deal with work. It deals with relationships as well. There are people who also have poor relationships to others because of laziness. It takes work to maintain any relationship, particularly marriage.
Some couples don’t make it in marriage because they don’t want to work at it. And some children suffer tremendously in life because some parents are too lazy to discipline them, teach them or spend time with them.
ILL.- Tony Campolo tells this story about himself. “I remember as a boy being told that it was my job to wash the dishes after dinner. My first response was to pretend that I did not know how to wash them and that I could not learn.
“My mother proceeded to show me how but I pretended to be too stupid to learn. I thought she would give up after a couple of weeks, but she knew that I needed to do those dishes more than those dishes needed to be done. When my mother would not give up on me, I realized that there was no escape from the dishes, and that if I said for the next ten years that I did not know how to wash them, then for the next ten years my mother would daily teach me how to do them.”
Brothers and sisters, it takes work to raise children and teach them about the responsibilities of life. But some parents are too lazy to do the work.
Our text in Proverbs 24 speaks of the sluggard, the slothful man, the man too lazy to work. I want us to think about this subject and apply it to the Christian life.
Why? Because I am convinced there are many lazy Christians in America today. Lazy in what way? Lazy in worship and work. What am I talking about? It should be obvious. Some people are not faithful in their church attendance. They are either lazy, indifferent or perhaps distracted by other things. And the same things hold for Christian service or Christian work.
ILL.- I had a preacher write me the other day via e-mail saying that it was “work day” at the camp, but they couldn’t get anyone from the church to go work so he and his wife were going.
Getting people to work and serve in the church is getting harder all the time. Again, this is either because people are lazy, indifferent or are distracted with other things.
PROP.- Let’s consider three thoughts about the sluggard.