The slothful or sluggard man is condemned many times in Proverbs. God treats laziness with contempt. God says the sluggard is so lazy he buried his hand in his food and won’t even bring it back up to his mouth (Prov. 19:24; 26:15)! Since he knows all the answers, he has no need for work (cf. Prov. 26:16). Notice how Proverbs describes him.
HE HAS NO INITIATIVE (Prov. 6:6-11). He lacks the ambition to work, the foresight to plan, and the desire to provide necessities. He is the one who constantly needs a fire lit under him. He cannot conceive of the idea of being a “self-starter.” No doubt, he has difficulty finding and keeping employment. He constantly seeks out the easy way. He is lethargic. A Christian should never lack determination, for there is great purpose in Christ and His love should motivate us to act (Gal. 5:6).
HE’S UNRELIABLE AND IRRESPONSIBLE (Prov. 10:26). He cannot be entrusted with a task. His word means little. His effort is sub par. The verse says, “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.” Are there ever sluggards in the church, who promise involvement, pledge support, talk up church plans, but never or irregularly produce? They make promises, but people quickly learn not to expect of them. The sluggard forgets that his or her words mean something (cf. Matt. 12:36-37). Too, Jesus says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16,20).
HE HAD RATHER WISH THAN WORK (Prov. 13:4). He is long on cravings, short on diligence. Therefore, he spends his life in a dream world. Someone said, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.” The lazy man is a poor steward of his time (Eph. 5:16) and his mind. Dreams alone are vanity (cf. Ecc. 5:7).
HE WANTS BENEFIT WITHOUT INVESTMENT (Prov. 20:4). He wants something for nothing. This proverbs says that the sluggard goes hungry because he won’t hitch up the team in plowing season. He wants to eat, but he doesn’t want to work for it. Paul suggests that such should not be allowed a spot at the dinner table (cf. 2 Thess. 3:11-12). What about churches that want growth without evangelism? Or individuals who want success without self-discipline? Anything worthwhile requires effort!
There may be a bit of sluggard in us all. The tendency to slough off is often tempting. The devil will surely use idleness to try and defeat the cause of Christ. What sagacity is found in doing with all the might what the hand finds to do (Ecc. 9:10)!