Proverbs. The Lazy Fool.

Key Notes: Many causes of poor activity. Work motives.

This kind of fool is hard to explain. There are many causes of what is called laziness, some of which is illness, physical or mental. People who are weak (eg. chronic fatigue syndrome) may not be lazy. They may feel very frustrated by their weakness. That is different from laziness. Depression is a devastating illness that affects many, perhaps 30% of the population at one time or another. Nevertheless, sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. The spiritual component may be complacency, lack of inspiration or lack of purpose. There is also a component of stubborn selfishness as we see in these notes.

"How long will you lie there, O lazybones? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest  and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want, like an armed warrior." (Prov. 6:9–11; 24:33,34)

"The lazy person is wiser in self-esteem than seven who can answer discreetly." (Prov. 26:16)

"The craving of the lazy person is fatal, for lazy hands refuse to labor." (Prov. 21:25)

"Like vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so are the lazy to their employers." (Prov. 10:26)

"The hand of the diligent will rule, while the lazy will be put to forced labor." (Prov. 12:24)

"The lazy do not roast their game, but the diligent obtain precious wealth." (Prov. 12:27)

" The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied." (Prov. 13:4)

"The way of the lazy is overgrown with thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway." (Prov. 15:19)

"Laziness brings on deep sleep; an idle person will suffer hunger." (Prov.’:15)

"The lazy person buries a hand in the dish, and will not even bring it back to the mouth." (Prov.’:24;  26:14)

"The lazy person does not plow in season; harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found." (Prov. 20:4)

"Do not love sleep, or else you will come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread." (Prov. 20:13)

"The lazy person says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the street.'" (Prov. 22:13; 26:13).

"As a door turns on its hinges, so does a lazy person in bed." (Prov. 26:14)

On the positive side, the writer turns us to an insect as a role-model:

"Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways and be wise.
Without having any chief or officer or ruler,
it prepares its food in summer,
and gathers its sustenance in harvest." (Prov.6;6–8)


Polls and statistics tell us that Americans work harder than Europeans—too hard, according to some. Then this kind of fool does not apply to us? But what shall we say of "the couch potato", epidemic obesity ,"just hanging out" and the poor physical condition of young and old? Certainly we do not work the dawn-to-dusk life of the farmer. How can we account for the many hours each day spent in front of the television, watching trivia and being amused by nonsense? If we do not waste our working hours, we clearly are wasting our leisure time.

Addressing the Christian, Paul said " Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time for the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph.5:15–17). Time is the coin of our existence. It is spent at a constant rate and cannot be reclaimed. We spend our time on the things we are passionate about. What shall we say we did with the "talents" God gave us in the Great Judgment Day? (IICor.5:10). What shall I say I did with my time? I played a good golf game? I kept a clean house? I read a lot of books.

Most of us are preoccupied with making a living. So we are limited in what we can do to our leisure time. If we would give the Lord a tithe of our waking hours (10% of 112hrs./wk.= 11.2 hrs) and plan to spend three hours a week in church-related activity, we have eight loose hours per week to devote to the Lord as His servants. Let us invest them wisely in ministry, working passionately at the tasks God has gifted us to do for His glory. Make every day count for Jesus and His Kingdom.

"Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord." (Rom.12:11)