The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24, ESV)

I recall very clearly one day when I was growing up and my diminutive but tough grandma was watching all ten of us!?!  She had bought some groceries and told us to carry them into the house.  I grabbed several bags of them and staggered up the steps into the kitchen where she was putting them away.

“Check this out, grandma,” I boasted as I set all the bags down.  “Look how many bags I brought in.”

My grandma turned her head towards me and nodded, “Oh yeah, that’s a lazy man’s load,” she responded.

What the?!? A lazy man’s load?  She didn’t bother to explain what she meant and of course it didn’t take me long to figure it out.  A lazy man would grab as many bags as possible because he wanted to make as few trips out to the car and back as possible.  My grandma was of course, exactly correct, that was my plan.  I was the lazy man!

All of which came to mind when I read this little gem from Proverbs:

The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24, ESV)

The word that we translate “slothful” means: “shiftlessness, i.e., a state or condition of habitually refusing to work or be diligent in life” [Dictionary of Biblical Languages Hebrew]. A slothful person doesn’t want to work and schemes to get out of work because he is lazy.  The irony here, as Solomon notes, is that “the slothful will be put to forced labor.”

What the lazy man can expect is to be forced to do what he does not want to do: work. The Tyndale Commentary puts this succinctly: “Laziness has its price.”

And so it does.

Proverbs is about Jesus coming to us as our counselor and advising us on the best way to flourish in this life [and thereby glorify God].  Laziness will not allow us to flourish as God intended, we ought to avoid it.

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