August 3: Identifying the Sluggard (Proverbs 24:30-34)
Proverbs 24:30-34 (see also Prov. 6:6-11 and Prov. 26:13-16)
I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
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 man. (ESV)
In our passage, we find a father instructing a son towards diligence in work and away from being one who is lazy or as the writer of Proverbs calls, the "sluggard." Proverbs, perhaps surprisingly, speaks in great detail about the sluggard or slothful. In fact, Solomon skillfully uses sarcasm and comedic illustrations to warn us about the sluggard. We tend to think of the sluggard simply as a lazy person. And while that is true, there is a bit more involved. The sluggard is identified by a number of additional characteristics, such as procrastination, rationalization and self-defensiveness. As we will find, many of us struggle with laziness at work as well as in our spiritual life. The instruction before us will offer hope and help to avoid slothfulness and to be diligent in work so as to enjoy its fruit.
Review and Apply
- What characteristics of the sluggard brought conviction to your soul?
- In what areas of your life are you guilty of being a sluggard: growth in faith, building a marriage, pursuing friendships with other believers, leading your children, or sharing the gospel?
- What consequences have you faced because of laziness, slothfulness or indifference in life?
- Describe God's purposes for work. Explain how you value work and how you display his glory through your work.
- Are you willing to listen to instruction about doing your job better? Why or why not?
- How does Jesus' work on the cross give meaning to our work?
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