Jump Start # 3290
Proverbs 26:13 “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!’”
Oh, the sluggard. He works harder at doing nothing than doing something. We don’t use the term ‘sluggard,’ much in our conversations. For us, it’s lazy bones. In a series of four verses in Proverbs 26, the writer paints a pathetic picture of the lazy. Our verse today begins this section on the sluggard.
Seeing a lion in the road is a great reason to stay inside. If one was to go out, he’d likely be torn to pieces by the fierce beast. By the flow of these verses, it seems that the sluggard was making up excuses. The lion is in the road. Now, the lion is in the open square, which would be in town. Which is it? The writer is not dismissing a dangerous situation. He is not telling the readers to do something foolish. Rather, it seems the sluggard is just saying these things. This is his reason for not getting out of bed. This is why he won’t go to work. Excuse after excuse and it makes him feel safe hiding behind excuses.
There sure are many lessons for us:
First, excuses are a polite way of avoiding what we don’t want to do. Just saying, “I don’t feel like doing that,” is too honest and abrupt. But hidden behind an excuse, and it’s easy for us to get around things. Talk to any police officer and the excuses they hear when people are pulled over. Often there isn’t much difference between an excuse and a lie.
The old preacher talked about modern miracles in his day. Folks that were too sick to get out to church services, were seen in restaurants at noon. Somehow they had recovered quickly. Must have been a miracle, the old preacher said.
Second, God sees through the smoke of an excuse. We can fool one another. We can be very convincing, but God knows. The issue in our verse today wasn’t the lion, it was the lazy heart of the person who didn’t want to do anything. It seems our culture is catering to the lazy. Rather than being industrious and working hard, some would rather stay home, play video games and get checks in the mail for doing nothing. Some of this has to be the way people were raised. Lazy people raise lazy kids. Busy people raise busy kids. Too lazy to work. Too lazy to get down to the church building. Too lazy to help anyone else. The idle mind becomes the devil’s playground is a very common expression. Keeping the mind, the hands, and the heart busy not only keeps one out of trouble, but it makes that person productive and helpful to others.
Third, now, what if there was truly a lion in the street? Form a plan on how to deal with that lion. Think about distracting that lion and sending someone out for help. Doing nothing results with nothing. Find a lion killer and get him to come. I expect the sluggard would just go back to bed.
I’ve noticed through the years that it is very hard for the industrious and the lazy to understand each other. The busy person is up and at it early in the morning. He has a list of things he wants to accomplish. He is driven, focused and goal oriented. It baffles him how someone can sleep away the morning. But the lazy doesn’t see the need to do all that the busy person is doing. Now, when lazy marries busy, it will be a rocky relationship. The two are not wired the same and there will be constant battles and friction.
And, let’s be honest here, it’s easy for a person to become a lazy preacher these days. Most of his time is spent alone. There are no time clocks in the church building. He can easily get a sermon from the internet on a Saturday evening. He can spend the week doing nothing. Such is a poor example to the church. Shepherds need to look into a man’s work habits before he is offered the position to preach. The criticism of preachers only working one day a week is actually true among the lazy. In our times today, it is easy to produce blogs, podcasts and other means to teach and reach others worldwide. I am not a fan of the lazy preacher.
A lion is in the street! So, do something about it. There are things to be done, and God is greater than any lion. David killed a lion. God shut the mouths of lions for Daniel. Maybe the sluggard should have prayed. But that may be expecting too much, since he is lazy.