Sluggard, slacker and sloth [not the mammal, but the human] are politically incorrect nouns that have fallen from favor in our society; however, I deem they have never been more appropriate for our day.
We are a nation with hundreds of thousands of sluggards, sloths and slackers who have chosen to live on public welfare! Please don’t misinterpret my words. I am all for assisting those who are genuinely in need of help and public assistance; however, we have too many who are content being numbered among the perpetually unemployed and live on the public dole.
Solomon knew all to well that a son of affluence and luxury might lack the personal discipline of a great ruler. As I read Proverbs 6:6-8 I feel as one who is eavesdropping on the king’s private exhortation to his son to wake out of the sleep of indolence! Consider the way of a foraging ant as a model of industry and hard work. Solomon writes,
Proverbs 6:6-8 – “Go to the ant, thou sluggard [lazy, slothful]; consider [gaze and look upon] her ways [manner], and be wise: 7Which [the ant] having no guide [captain; head], overseer, or ruler [governor; one in authority], 8 Provideth her meat [food] in the summer, and gathereth her food [supplies] in the harvest [time of harvest].”
The ant is an industrious, self-motivated, disciplined worker that is busy scavenging for food in summer to sustain its colony in winter. Proverbs 30:24-25 commends the ant for its wisdom who, though diminutive in size, scavenges for food well in advance of times of scarcity.
It has been my experience that the slothful, sluggard and slacker have the gift of criticism; while few who are serving have time or motivation to bother with another’s failings. Paul had strong words for slackers in the 1st century church when he wrote:
2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 – “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work [i.e. be silent], and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”
You ask, “What is Paul saying?”
In a few words, “Stop talking and start serving!” The criticism of a fellow Christian who is bearing the yoke of ministry is engaging; however, the words of a ne’er do well are hollow. Until you bear the yoke, spare the criticism!
If numbered among the faithful few who serve and minister to others, “be not weary in well doing” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)!