WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 12, 2021
TOPIC: AVOID LAZINESS AND ITS ATTENDANT CONSEQUENCES
BY T. O. BANSO
“The hands of the diligent ones shall rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Proverbs 12:24 World English Bible).
Laziness has no benefit that should make it attractive to anyone. Whatever could be considered as its benefits by the lazy are open doors to self-destruction! Laziness has grave consequences, and diligence is the only way to avoid them.
Proverbs 31:10-31 talks about the virtuous woman; and in verse 27, it says, “She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness” (New Living Translation). The woman would not bear the consequences of laziness because she was industrious, very hard-working. If someone is lazy, he/she is sowing a seed and he/she must reap the harvest – the consequences. And the Bible talks about a lot of them.
Ecclesiastes10:18 says, “Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks” (New King James Version). Things degenerate under a lazy person. “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15 New King James Version).
God is a worker. He made the heavens and the earth in six days. Genesis 2:2 says on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. When God created Adam, He put him in the garden to dress and keep it (Genesis 2:15). Adam was not idle. Anyone who is too lazy to work would end in poverty. No matter how vast the wealth he inherited, poverty will become his companion.
Hear God’s advice to such persons: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep — so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11 New King James Version). Did you see that?
The Bible says, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” (Proverbs 13:4 New King James Version). The Bible further says, “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!” (Proverbs 14:23 New Living Translation). Laziness will create a future of penury for the indolent! It will waste his destiny. God hates laziness. A lazy person will waste his opportunities and perpetuate his problems.
In the Bible, we see how Ruth was not a lazy person. She was a poor widow but didn’t use that as an excuse for begging. As soon as she returned with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem from her home country, Moab, she went into the field to pick stalks of grain or gather leftover grain behind anyone harvesting as it was the custom (Ruth 2:2).
Unknown to her, the LORD led her to the field of Boaz, a member of her late husband’s family, where her diligence was noticed and commended by Boaz’s men. “Then Boaz asked his foreman, ‘Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?’ And the foreman replied, ‘She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi. She asked me this morning if she could gather grain behind the harvesters. She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes’ rest in the shelter’” (verses 5-6 New Living Translation). Look at that recommendation.
Boaz was impressed by this testimonial and the positive report he had heard previously about Ruth’s kindness and everything she had done for her mother-in-law since the death of Ruth’s husband (verse 11). Verses 8-9 say, “Boaz went over and said to Ruth, ‘Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field. See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well’” (New Living Translation).
While Ruth was still expressing her surprise at this uncommon favour, Boaz added more. “At lunchtime Boaz called to her, ‘Come over here and help yourself to some of our food. You can dip your bread in the wine if you like” (verse 14 New Living Translation). Ruth sat with his harvesters, and Boaz gave her some roasted grain to eat. She ate all she wanted and still had some leftover. If she had been lazy, staying at home, she wouldn’t have enjoyed all this favour. Lazy people cheat themselves a lot. They are the enemies of themselves while they like blaming others.
Diligence will give someone the upper hand in life. “The diligent will get the upper hand, but slothful men will end as serfs” (Proverbs 12:24 Moffat Bible). The World English Bible renders the verse as, “The hands of the diligent ones shall rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” Ruth was hard-working. “So Ruth gathered barley there all day, and when she beat out the grain that evening, it came to about half a bushel” (Ruth 2:17 New Living Translation). Did you see that again? She gathered barley all day. Thus, she and her mother-in-law could eat to satisfaction.
Diligence is a good attribute that God is looking for in His children. Diligence will promote one; laziness will destroy one. No wonder, Boaz, as one of Ruth’s family redeemers, later married her. He must have been greatly impressed with her sense of hard work in addition to other qualities. The laziness of some men could be the reason some ladies don’t want to marry them and vice versa. Laziness is repulsive and destructive.
Laziness could be the reason some people are not effective as leaders, either in the ministry or business. Laziness will kill any venture; it will emasculate any enterprise. A leader must be diligent. “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave” (Proverb 12:24 New Living Translation).
Leadership is hard work; it is serious work. Laziness is a disservice to any destiny but the consequences are worse in leadership. “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4 New King James Version).
Not only does laziness destroy the leader, but it could also destroy even the followers and any organization. Laziness in leadership sends a wrong signal to followers. Some of them, unfortunately, may adjust and become lazy while some may decide that is not the right place for them to be. How can a leader make a demand for hard work on followers when he is lazy?
What some people need is not to attend another conference or seminar. They have attended enough and always return from every new one excited. But nothing has changed in their lives because the conferences have not cured their laziness. No conference organized by the best people in your calling, the ministry or business, would free you from diligence as a constant in the equation of success. A lazy minister or business person must overcome laziness if he wants to make any significant progress.
It is true the LORD said to Zerubbabel, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (New King James Version). But the Lord didn’t say it is by laziness! The Spirit of God does not excuse you from work. The Spirit will always empower you to work – but you’re not working in the energy of the flesh. When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon someone, it doesn’t put him to sleep; it is always to do some things as we see in Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:18-19. Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17 New King James Version).
A leader must be prepared to sacrifice time, money, comfort to pursue and fulfill his call. No leader gets ahead without diligence. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29 King James Version).
The apostle Paul said he laboured more abundantly than all the other apostles yet not by himself but by the grace of God which was with him (1 Corinthians 15:10). Two factors Paul mentioned in that scripture – grace and labour. You must add diligent labour to grace that you have received from the Lord so that you won’t be disgraced. Don’t receive grace and just sit down – you will become a laughing stock. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty”(New King James Version).
You cannot make maximum impact in leadership or life with laziness. Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lazy in your work but serve the Lord enthusiastically” (New Living Translation). Please take note of that adverb – enthusiastically. The Bible does not spare a lazy person or the slothful. Proverbs 18:9 says, “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer” (New King James Version).
If Jesus had folded His arms having received grace, if He had not gone about His father’s business, He would have ended a failure despite being the Son of God. But He said, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 New King James Version). You won’t achieve your goals by wishing; you will achieve your goals through diligence among other things. “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor” (Proverbs 21:25 New King James Version).
Believers must not encourage idleness or promote irresponsibility on the altar of brotherly love. The church must identify and help those who genuinely need assistance, not those who have refused to work but abuse the generosity of the church. The resources of the church should not be wasted on crafty parasites who pretend to be genuine Christians. Paul gave the rule that whoever does not work should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Be diligent. Avoid laziness and its attendant consequences. Accept responsibility; be responsible. Say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 New King James Version). Don’t stop at that; go ahead and do what you need to do.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of every area of laziness in my life, especially in the pursuit of my destiny or life assignment. Father, You are a worker; henceforth, I shall work and not be lazy, making excuses. I shall not frustrate or waste the grace of God upon my life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I shall add labour to the grace of God in my life. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Father, deliver all your children including the Your servants from laziness.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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