GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
The Slothful Man
By Keith L. Estes
The subject in this article is not about the slow moving, tree dwelling mammal of tropical America who barely moves even to eat his food. It's concerning people who are habitually lazy or idle.
What does the Bible say about such as these? In the book of Proverbs the word slothful is mentioned twelve times and never in a positive viewpoint.
When my wife and I were in charge of a shelter for the homeless, in downtown Clearwater some years ago, we would often have employers request as many men as possible for work. After breakfast I would say to the men, "Listen, all of you. If there was work available, would you accept it?" The reply would be, " Oh, yes, we certainly would, we want to work!" Then I would tell them of the company that needed them right away and was in walking distance. Almost without exception the excuses would start. We felt fortunate to send any of them on to the job.
Some were addicted to alcohol, some were mentally deficient, some were running from responsibility while others had no intention of working and as long as someone fed and clothed them they didn't intend to pursue that course. The person who really wanted to change his situation stood out like a beacon on a barren reef in comparison with the common transient. However, they were few and far between.
In no way am I accusing poor and honest persons, who want to work and cannot, of indolence. But when strong young men refuse to work, when they are able, then these are the slothful that the Bible refers to.
Jesus, in one of His parables, tells how a man traveling to a far country, gave his three servants ten-five-and one talents respectively to invest. He that had received the five talents went and traded with them and made five other talents. He that had two talents increased his by two. But the one that had received the one talent went and buried his talent and said, “Lord, I knew thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed (scattered). And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: Lo, there thou hast that is thine.” His Lord answered and said unto him, “Thou wicked and SLOTHFUL (lazy) servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not scattered. Thou oughtest, therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. (Interest), Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him, which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The slothful servant can never know the joys of service. He is too busy doing nothing, playing it safe. His philosophy is to let others do for him. He is a taker not a giver. On the ladder of real life he has not reached the first rung. God has ordained work as profitable and good but this man is an ordained sloth who shuns any endeavor that requires initiative on his part.
The slothful man is an entity unto himself, he needs no God, and instead of multiplying his talents he multiplies his obstacles on the road of life.
References: Matt. 25, Prov. 12:24, 27, 15:19, 18:19, 19:24, 21:25, 22:13, 24:30-34, 26:13,14,15, 19:15. The Holy Bible