Thursday, May 5, 2011

Proverbs 19:24 commentary - O Thou Sluggard!

24 ¶ A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

This is the essence of sloth; a person who will do nothing for themselves. Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to receive help from someone or even to need help. Sociologists show us that in most pre-Capitalist societies there is no animus against someone either needing help or receiving help and that the concept of total self reliance is essentially a myth we perpetuate in order to create a society useful to our economic system. In fact, I know many so called Conservatives who publicly deride such things as welfare and Medicare who actually have received some benefit from the taxpayer like that when in need. I would recommend looking into Ayn Rand’s life more and you would see that hypocrisy as well as I have read she received state medical aid under another name. I would recommend two books to back up my remarks; The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz and Radicals for Capitalism; A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty.

However, sloth is a sinful condition that is the foundation of a person who simply will take no action to help themselves; they will neither work nor willingly take care of their own private needs. Aprocryphal stories abound among social welfare workers of people who live in apartments littered with trash and a multitude of pets, excrement and urine coating everything. While that is an extreme there are plenty of people, and we all have at least one in our extended families, who will not do anything to help themselves.

Since the early Christian church provided welfare for their members it was important that everyone worked.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 ¶ Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 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. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Christians are commanded to be hardworking and diligent.

Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business….

On a different scale we have slothful Christians who are only fed on the words of God when they come to meet with the church and would never even lift a hand to open the Bible at other times. We have slothful Christians who do not hesitate to ask for prayer but rarely pray for themselves or anyone else. The question you need to ask yourself is, are you hardworking and diligent in a worldly way but slothful in God’s ways? Do you put in a lot of hours to put food on the table but spare no time to put God’s words in your heart? I imagine you probably have your car or truck radio on all the time but I doubt you have a CD in it of someone, say yourself, reading the Bible. Why is that? Other than the possibility that you aren’t really a Christian, perhaps you are a Christian beset by sloth and laziness. God has a lot to say about the sluggard and the slothful in Proverbs. None of it is very approving.

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