Laziness is Bondage, Diligence is Freedom

24 The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor. 25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. 26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. 27 Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth. 28 In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.

Proverbs 12:24-28 ESV
Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash

A mashup of different versions teaches us a few things. First, to be slothful is to be negligent or lazy. Second, the opposite of slothfulness or laziness is diligence. Third, there is a distinct set of behaviors that identify the lazy and the diligent. Fourth, there is a LOT in the proverbs to warn us about laziness and the results are NOT good. Finally, there is no divine rescue from laziness; we have to do something about it. Verses 24 and 27 are where we need to focus. I include the entire passage for context.

Verse 24 — The hand of the diligent will rule, while the lazy and negligent will be put to forced labor (slavery or bondage).

Verse 27 — The lazy man does not catch his prey, but the precious possession of a wise man is diligence because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them.

To be blunt, laziness creates a barrier between us and our options. It hinders freedom and has no dominion. The lazy will be subjects to the diligent who will rule. This is powerfully sobering because even with callings to rule, with our hyper-reliance on the divine to perform for us, if we are lazy we will not rule.

Laziness meets no targets, achieves no goals. The lazy, if they eat, will not eat well. The diligent, on the other hand, will be wise and seize opportunities. The diligent see their chances to excel and take those chances with wisdom. Resourcefulness gets results.

What’s the counter-activity, then, to laziness? How do we become diligent and wise rulers? I say we pay attention to fruit bearing. Discipleship is the beginning effort to pursue godly wisdom, which is the principal thing. We need to be accountable to ourselves, our true measure, and whether we give God glory by bearing much fruit.

Stick around, this is going to be good.


Dr. Shaunta D. Scroggins is the lead contributor for the The Bereans’ Commentary.

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