The dictionary defines a “sluggard” as a habitually inactive or lazy person. Here’s an example. My wife Joanne is mentoring a young lady who just got out of prison. While incarcerated, a grandmother cared for her 4-yr-old daughter. This gal counted the days until she could be reunited with her precious little girl. Three weeks after she was released she was told that the father of the child wanted full custody. It seemed odd that he was unwilling to care for his child while the mother was in prison – and now he has a sudden desire to be the sole caretaker.
However, the rest of the story soon came out. He has discovered that if can get custody of this little girl, he will receive free housing, food stamps and a monthly stipend. He can totally remove himself from having to work, and can live the life he has apparently dreamed of. I’d call this guy a sluggard.
I have three questions:
1. What motivates a person to stoop this low, in using an innocent child as a ploy for personal gain?
2. What has to happen to a person to give up on this level – to decide that a meager handout is better than the wide-open opportunities we all have in front of us? And thus deprive oneself of the incredible satisfaction of meaningful, purposeful and profitable work?
3. How have we as a society allowed this kind of option to even be made available?
The Biblical Proverbs are full of interesting descriptions of the “sluggard.”
Here are just a few telltale signs:
- The sluggard is a procrastinator. Sluggards love to sleep, watch TV and put off anything meaningful until tomorrow.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? (Prov. 6:9)
- The sluggard is self-seeking. Always looking out for number one – himself. He has no consideration for anyone else.
The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (Prov. 13:4)
- The sluggard makes no plans for the future. Every day is like the previous one – just wait and see what happens. He thinks only of the present. He constantly talks about tomorrow, because that’s when he’s going to do something important; but he never thinks ahead.
A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing. (Prov. 20:3-5)
- The sluggard uses unfounded fears and excuses keep from doing anything. The sluggard cannot possibly get to work because there might be some challenge out there.
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!” or, “I will be murdered in the streets!” (Prov. 22:13
- The sluggard lacks self-discipline and self-control. Whatever is easy and immediately enjoyable will always be his first choice.
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. (Prov. 26:14)
Okay, I know this doesn’t describe you – but what would you recommend for dealing with people like this?