Laziness is Lovelessness

I have observed, as one who has had to periodically review resumes and job applications, that people like to list this as one of their weaknesses: “I tend to be a workaholic.” I have yet to see someone list as a weakness: “I tend to be lazy.” Confessing that you sometimes work too much appears to be less objectionable to a prospective employer than the appearance that you sometimes work too little.
Why is that?
You may have seen the picture this summer of Democratic Connecticut legislators playing solitaire and surfing the Web while a Republican colleague argued against their budget proposal. Or you may have heard about some investigators in a suspected drug dealer’s house in central Florida who were secretly recorded playing Wii bowling on the suspect’s big screen TV during the raid.
I think stuff like this makes the news because coming down hard on people who are doing something other than their work takes attention away from the times when you and I do the same thing. Be careful if you think you cannot be likewise accused. When we think of sloth we tend to picture some overweight, poorly-kept fellow lying on a couch eating chips while his wife works and then comes home to wait on him and their children. Instead we should confess that sloth is doing what you want to do instead of what you should be doing. It is doing something good at the expense of something better. It is looking for excuses to get out of responsibility.
Consider a relevant story from Scripture:
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42
We need people who work like Martha, but we should never have the attitude of Martha. She thought Mary was being lazy. But Jesus told Martha that she was the one who had chosen the wrong activity. Proverbs paints for us humorous pictures of a man turning on his bed like a door on its hinges, of someone too lazy to lift food to his mouth and of someone who makes up excuses to escape work like, “There is a lion in the streets.”
But the real issue of the heart is not only inactivity but also busyness that lets us escape more important business. If my treasure and identity is found in achieving in my workplace I will work very hard there—even doing more than I have to do because it pleases me. But some of the very best workers in the public eye look at home and in church like the fellow whose handful of food is to heavy to hoist to his mouth.
The Christian work ethic does make people refuse to join the crowd doing things for personal benefit while they are “on the clock,” but it also challenges them to go home and be a servant at the end of the day. It moves men to listen to their wives and spend time with their children. It motivates church members to invest their time and talent in others. It calls believers to get up a little earlier or eat one less bowl of cereal so they have time to sit at Jesus’ feet.


  1. It's hard to come up with a balance....... after all some of us so enjoy studying the scriptures we neglect other things. Sometimes coming home after a long day of work to work on a project is our way of serving too. But then what do I know...

  2. You make a good point. You have to keep the bubble in the middle. I'm thinking, though, that it is a rare occurrence to find someone who is so wrapped up in worship and studying the Bible that they stop obeying what the God of the Bible has called them to do.


What do you think?