The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets. As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.–Proverbs 26:13-15
When I was a boy there was a patch of woods near the railroad track, a mile or so from our house, that was called Hobo Jungle. So it was pretty common for hobos to come through our area looking for a handout. Mom usually managed to give them something to eat. Most were too lazy to work or they wouldn’t have been in their condition. They just lived off the kindness of others. I thought of that this week when I read this story, told by Paul Chappell, about a hobo who was riding trains to make his way out west.
He stopped in the town of Denver, hoping that people would have pity on him and give him something to eat. But everywhere he went, he seemed to get the same response. Finally in disgust he made his way back to the train station. Under his breath he muttered, “This has got to be the laziest town I’ve ever been to. Every person I met wanted me to do work for him!”
A lazy person can always find some excuse not to work—no matter how ridiculous it is. That’s because he has surrendered everything for sake of avoiding labor. Yet taking the path of least resistance is a guarantee of never accomplishing anything good for this world or the next. Every work of lasting importance requires labor, effort, and sacrifice. Whether the world values work or not, we as believers have a responsibility to be diligent in our efforts and overcome laziness.
It is important that we understand the role God intends for work to play in building and strengthening our character. Adam had assignments and responsibilities even before the Fall. The thing that changed was that work became harder. God told Adam, “cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17). The necessity to labor and struggle is good for us. Avoiding work is like not taking medicine because it tastes bad. It may avoid temporary unpleasantness, but in the end we are harming ourselves.—Rather than making excuses and seeking ways to get out of work, diligently do the tasks that are set before you.