There are several proverbs today dealing with your behaviour and reactions to people – viz. the verbs: rescue; hold back; don’t lie in wait, gloat, fret. Payback is unwise, even stupid! 24:29
The sluggard is a person who lacks sense. The end of this passage has a few verses dedicated to them.
And it’s an interesting thing to read these over with two different lenses. One is the outworking in a “this world” sense. The other in a “spiritual reality” sense.
“I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,”
We can do this as we go about our lives here, particularly as we meet and relate with one another. We can meet those who are sluggards, and their work displays this.
But we can also pass by and perhaps be ourselves at times, spiritual sluggards.
“… And behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.”
It can be very obvious to see the outworking of a sluggards work. They take shortcuts that don’t work, they don’t follow wise process, they refuse to see reality.
This is true in both lenses. Are our souls overgrown with thorns (the parable of the seeds/grounds comes to mind here), are our walls broken down?
“Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.”
It is good for us to contemplate the folly of a sluggard when we see it. In either lense, this physical world or the spiritual.
“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.”
This is true in the physical world. It’s very easy to see in farming communities, the sluggard stands out like a sore thumb.
But too, there is a spiritual warning here. Don’t be a sluggard in the things of God! Who wants spiritual poverty?
This is why both Solomon and Paul clearly remind us of the right work ethic.
In Eccl 3, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,”
And in Col 3, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.”
How do we combat spiritual sloth?
Remember our inheritance! Fear the Lord! Work for Him!
* Heavenly Father, please rescue us from the temptation to be spiritually lazy. Please fix within us a desire to please You with whatever our hand finds to do. And Lord, when we grow weary, please remind us of that wonderful hope, the inheritance of eternal life that we have!