Odd Animal, Strange Word, Common Problem

Of all the animals God made, the sloth ranks among the strangest.  It is a slow, lumbering, lethargic creature that hangs by its claws, often for days at a time.  An alligator is hyperactive compared to a sloth.  Basically, all a sloth does is eat, sleep, and occasionally mate.

(Ladies, insert husband joke here.)

Very rarely (because they’re almost always up in the trees), a sloth is threatened by a predator.   When that happens, it cuts loose with a mournful cry.  While most animals bare their teeth and fight to defend themselves, the sloth merely moans.

The Bible talks about slothfulness.  Our more modern translations have substituted the word “laziness,” but I like the old school term because of the picture it conjures in my mind.  Laziness can be almost charming in some ways.  In fact, there are books that actually extol the virtues of a laid-back, stress-free, just hangin’ out attitude that borders on laziness.  The sloth, however, is such an unattractive creature that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be identified with it.

Proverbs 12:24 says, “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy (or slothful) and become a slave.”

I would estimate that about 75% of the people who’ve come to me for counseling in the last 38 years are paying the price for their slothfulness.  They’ve been lazy with their spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible study, etc.), lazy in their church attendance, lazy in their relationships, lazy in their finances, lazy in their work ethic, lazy in their studies, lazy in the pursuit of their goals.  I’m not exaggerating.  I honestly believe 75% of our problems can be traced back to a lack of diligence.  I can look back and see where my own low points and struggles have almost always been directly related to my periods of lethargy.

Today, are you having a hard time?  If so, are you willing to consider the possibility that you have grown slothful in some key area of your life?  Or maybe more than one?

I truly believe that millions of people are out there spending enormous amounts of time and money searching for some elusive, mysterious (and easy?) answer to their problems, when that answer is sitting right in front of them.  They simply need to put their noses to the grindstone and do what they should have been doing all along.

For further reflection read Proverbs 12:24 and 19:15.

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