- What is Idleness?
Idleness is from the root word idle. As defined in Merriam Webster English dictionary, to be idle means any of the following:
(1)Not working, not active, not being used. (2)Not having any real purpose or value. (3)Not having much activity, not occupied or employed.
- What does the Bible say about idleness?
First, we must realize that the Lord God who created the universe was not and is never idle.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
After creation, He commissioned man to be productive through labour, husbandry and meaningful work.
Genesis 1:28, Proverbs 6: 6. As Christians, the Bible enjoined us to work with our own hands and eat our own bread. Part of the commendable characteristics found in a virtuous woman include diligence, hard work and home-keeping. Proverbs 32:10 – 31
Apostle Paul warned those whose lives are characterized by idleness and laziness to repent and change. 2 Thessalonians 3:12. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
- Why do some people choose to be idle?
- Having people (parents, husbands, wives brothers) who are presently taking care of them, they become lax and despiteful of lowly work. This is because of their lack of foresight forgetting that, “No condition is permanent.”
- They underrate their potentials, value and worth. They forget that God Almighty can and does pour His bountiful blessings as reward on our “handfuls of purpose”. Ruth 2: 16
- They falsely equate spirituality to idleness and laziness forgetting that the Bible taught that “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 10.
- They set their eyes “too-high”, forgetting that there is dignity and reward in low menial labour.
- What are the Consequences of idleness?
- Poverty, lack and the inability to take care of oneself, and the family. Proverb 13:4.
- No amount of gifts and favours can ever satisfy a lazy person. The person will continue begging perpetually.
- Laziness and idleness can lead to ill-health, overweight and one becoming physically unfit.
- A false sense of entitlement and always looking beholden to other people. That is, always looking up to and expecting favours from others as if they owe you anything.
- One who is idle and lazy is a hindrance to the gospel because such a one cannot support the needs of the gospel work. Neither can she have to help the weak, elderly and needy ones. Invariably, selfishness and self-centeredness govern the actions of such a person.
- It is the root of every sin as “an idle man’s heart is the root of all evils.” Idleness lead to temptation and ones potentially falling into sins. David’s adultery with Bathsheba (and his reproachable conspiracy to murder her husband to cover-up his tracks) had its roots in his idleness in the time of his prosperity and relative ease. 2 Samuel 11: 1 – 4;
- An idle and lazy person will invariably become a gossip, tale-bearer and a busy-body in affairs that do not concern her. An idle person can also fall into the sinful trap of envying the prosperity of her more diligent and hardworking neighbours. “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.´ 1 Timothy 5:13
- We all need and depend on the goodwill of others. However, laziness and habitual idleness makes one a slave and a beggar who is ever dependent on the goodwill of others. Proverbs 12:24. The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
- Things may be hard and tough for a diligent person, but that is only going to be temporary. An idle person is virtually hopeless, because she cannot see when good is coming or when a profitable opportunity is around the corner for her to take advantage of.
- There are some things we cannot do for ourselves unless God help us. For these we need faith, prayers and trust in God. However, there are so many other things we can do for ourselves for which we do not need faith. But either way, laziness and idleness make everything difficult for an idle person. Why? Because the person gradually pushes herself into a state of “learned helplessness” – not taking responsibility for oneself and always having the mindset that external forces always determine what happens to oneself and thereby destroying personal responsibility.
- Idleness and laziness can lead to unexercised mental and physical muscles resulting in health-complications. In fact, it won’t be out of place to say that idleness and laziness can lead to untimely death. Ecclesiastes 5:12. The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
- What are the Cures for Laziness?
If you wait until it starts raining before you carry an umbrella, then it is already too late. If you delay until you are thirsty before you start digging a well, then you are already too late. The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. ~~~ Chinese proverb. So, know that if you have been a habitually lazy and idle person, there is still hope. It is never too late to start doing something good. So, what are the cures?
- Do not be all talk and no action. Stop talking and start doing.
- Shun instant gratification.
Have a keen awareness of the fact that time is not on the side of the lazy person. James 4:13-14; Proverbs 20:4. The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
- We are going to give account of our lives to God. How are you spending the time He has given to you and the opportunities He has graciously brought your way? Romans 14:12
- Understand that, while sleep is recuperative and restorative to our health, one must not become a slave to sleep (especially in habitual excesses). Proverbs 20:13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.
- Act in love. Consider the possibility of the lives you stand to influence, change and impact for immeasurable good through your diligence and hard work – your husband, children, family, the church, the community etc. Hebrews 6:10-12