Last week, I wrote a pretty serious indictment against men and our current culture, and I
want to try to expand on it, offering answers and encouragement. So, hopefully, over the next few weeks,I am able to post a few blogs about this, addressing the issues and answers I briefly addressed in last week’s post. Before I do, allow me to take a moment to preface this blog with this: Everything I wrote last week, as well as what I will be writing today and throughout the next few weeks, are just the problems Isee today. This is in no way an exhaustive list, or even the result of deep, conclusive research. It is only a
list of obvious things I have observed over the past few weeks. I would like to address individual issues throughout the next few blogs.
Today, I would like to address Idleness.
Ecclesiastes 10:18 says, “Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.”
This passage tells us that when we choose to be idle, things that need to be done don’t get done. The example used is the roof of a house. A diligent man would not wait and react to a leaky roof- taking for granted that the roof will never leak. He will check before the rainy seasons come, to ensure the roof is solid and prepared for the rains. This is why his roof doesn’t have a leak. But the idle man is one who takes it for granted, ignores the fact that the rainy season is approaching, and never thinks about the fact that a leaky roof is a problem. We, as Christians, can’t be waiting for problems to occur. We can’t be reacting to sudden problems… we have too many problems as it is, as Jesus said, “…today has enough problems of its own.” If I don’t prepare and limit the dangers and issues of tomorrow before they come (If I don’t prepare for the future in the present, then I won’t be prepared to handle the problems of the present), I will be drowning in the flood waters when they arrive.
This is a huge problem in today’s culture (men and women both). We don’t prepare for tomorrow. Even worse, too many of us have leaky roofs and we are okay with it. We aren’t even taking care of the problems we have, choosing to deal and manage our lives around the “leaky roofs” when it rains. We just put a bucket under the spot where it leaks and maybe put a tarp on the roof in an attempt to manage the depth of the situation, in hopes that we can fix it when the rains stop. I get that. We can’t be prepared for everything, and too often we don’t know of potential problems until they occur. But we can’t live as if that is the rule. It must only be a small exception. God is calling on all of His children to be people that seek to
be like Him, to imitate God, and as men (specifically), we must be a people who understand this. God does not “react” to anything. Nothing shocks God. He is always prepared. How, then, can we as the men who represent the Father, be a people who expect to be successful reacting to problems, never prepared to handle tough problems. We need to be a people who learn to investigate prior to potential problems, dealing with issues before they manifest. After all, it is the glory of kings to seek a matter out (Proverbs 25:2). Of course there will always be grace when we overlook or miss some details. We will make mistakes. But to sit back and be idle and say, “What’s the point? I’ll just deal with whatever comes” is backwards to what God wants for us. And how can we say we are godly, His children, if we intentionally ignore His call?
Another level of idleness is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
“ In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching [a] you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer".
This passage tells us the lazy/idle people are not just hurting themselves or barely getting by, but if their lifestyle becomes habit and is not dealt with, their idleness progresses to another level: busybodies and gossipers. According to this scripture passage, these people actually hurt people and hurt the whole Body of Christ. Instead of being a people who build others up, they become people who tear others down. By spending time doing things which don’t matter, they actually hurt people, and thusly become people who (hopefully) unknowingly serve Satan more than God. As I read through this passage over and over again, I began to notice the effects of idleness. First, no one can stay idle, but if you aren’t working on Kingdom things, then you will fill up your time with just being busy. From there, if still not dealt with, the fact that you remain busy doing the wrong things will result in you hearing about other people, because let’s face it, we surround ourselves with people who are like us. If you are a busybody, then you will surround yourself with other busy bodies. If you are a hard, diligent worker you will surround yourself with other hard and diligent workers. So when we surround ourselves with gossip and busybodies, trying to appear to be who you are supposed to be without the character to truly be growing, the result is you tear others down. This results in burnout and discouragement (I don’t believe burnout or discouragement are always the result of gossip, but definitely the result of constantly appearing to be busy in order to not appear idle). The passage says, “…never tire of doing what is good.” It’s all too common today to hear of people burning out. That is a sign that our motivation is wrong, that we are doing things out of obligation or fear of being judged. No, our motivation is the love of God. “Freely you have received, freely you give.” If your motivation isn’t the Grace of God, you will burnout. And the result of burnout is selfishness. Selfishness produces greed. These things all quench the fire of God and shut down the work of the Kingdom.
Just look at what Proverbs 21:25 says,
The craving of the idle will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.
God desires for His children to look like Him .It’s important to note that God isn’t just sitting on His throne being completely idle and enjoying life in luxury. God is diligently working. He is constantly singing over you and thinking about you. Jesus is constantly interceding on your behalf. Holy Spirit is diligently working with and for you, in an effort to help you grow in the Lord, for the Kingdom of God. We, must learn from God. As men of God, as women of God, we MUST work hard.
If you have read this far and think I am only talking to men, you are wrong. This is equally important for all of God’s children. Age and Gender are not important when it comes to the topic of idleness. As a matter of fact, idleness is addressed in Proverbs 31 (the godly woman chapter) when it tells of all she does:
She brings her husband good all of her days, she selects wool and flax and works with eager hands, she brings her food from far away, she gets up before the sun comes up, she plants the vineyard, she works vigorously, she trades in order to make money, she spins thread, she helps the needy, she makes the bedding for the family, makes linen garments, supplies merchants with sashes, watches over the affairs of the house, raises the children, makes the food, and fears the Lord.
In closing, I want to encourage each of you, to be the best you can be. Don’t be idle. Don’t pretend to be busy. Build the body of Christ up, serve people, work hard- not just for yourself or your family, but for God. Bless you…
Written by a few for the many.