Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Please note: The text alternates between plain text and italics. The scripture references at the side are also in plain or italics text and correspond to each section of text. Click on the text or the reference to view the King James translation of the verses being discussed, or related to the subject.
My son, I once strolled along a country road which lay along the field of a lazy and foolish man. From the road, I took note of the condition of his property. The stone wall surrounding his over-grown vineyard was in need of repair; briars and weeds grew in every direction. I paused in my journey to consider carefully the scene that was spread before me, and as I pondered over it, God taught me. He caused me to understand the meaning of what I saw with my eyes.
It was as though I could actually hear the man as he awoke in the morning, mumbling to himself as he turned in his bed, “Just a few more minutes, and I’ll get up. Just a little while longer to sleep.”
But where was the fruit of his vineyard? And where was the harvest from the field? No one maintained his property while he slept “just a little longer.”
By slothfulness, son, a building falls into ruin, and when hands are idle, a house rots through and collapses.
A lazy man turns in his bed like a door on its hinges, trying to find a comfortable position in which to kill himself with sleep. He dreams away his life, wishing he possessed things that others have–things that he could very well acquire if he would only get up and go to work. But those who work honestly and hard find complete happiness in God’s reward for their labors.
Sleepiness is not always caused by lack of sleep. Sleepiness can be an indication of a spiritual disease: slothfulness, the condition of not having the faith to joyfully meet the challenges of each day. It may not seem possible, but it is true that a man who is given to the unclean spirit of laziness would rather starve than do just a little work. Simply to lift his hand to his mouth to feed himself is a great inconvenience, and if he could, he would even have someone do that for him.
Listen to me, my son. Laziness is wastefulness. Slothfulness is a thief; it will rob you a few minutes at a time of the fleeting opportunities God gives you to prosper in this life. Drowsiness will clothe a man in rags; therefore, do not love sleep, lest poverty overtake you. You can earn money to buy your food only if your eyes are open. Idleness produces hunger.
Poverty doesn’t rob a man of either wisdom or goodness. There are many poor men with integrity, men who understand that by the work of their hands their needs will be met. On the other hand, there are many whose lives are ruined because they do not see a connection between honest labor and having food to eat. The unwillingness of their own hands to work kills them; they spend their days coveting the possessions of those who are diligent, never realizing that it is diligence, not luck, that has enriched them with enough to share with others.
The son who works in the summer and prepares for the cold days of winter is wise, but the parents of a son who sleeps when he should be bringing in the harvest must live with constant shame and disappointment. What eventually kills the lazy young man is giving in to self-indulgent desires instead of doing what is right. Such foolish young men become addicted to sensual pleasure, alcohol, or to fine things, and will in time become poor. Excessive indulgence in such things prevents a man from obtaining happiness and security. The young man who works hard and faithfully will have enough food to satisfy him, but the one who follows the example of lazy men has no understanding and will have poverty enough to satisfy him. Both will have what they earn.
The man who is working so diligently that he has little time for idle chatter tends to become richer as time passes; there just is not much profit that comes from standing around talking. The man who is full of vain talk tends to become poorer as time goes by. If you want to improve your financial situation, you’ll have to work at it, not just talk about it. If you pay attention and be patient, you will notice that those who come to occupy positions of authority are, in the main, those who were working while others were “having fun” and that those who spend their youth playing games become servants to those who are sober minded and dutiful. God has determined that each of us will reap exactly what we have sown, whether it be good or evil. Do not be deceived, for God never is. Whatever any man sows, that shall he also reap.
Take good care of the money God gives you. Carelessness leads to want; carefulness leads to plenty. Watch over all your possessions and never assume that they are safe. The goods of this life are not eternal and can be lost or stolen in a moment, especially if you neglect to do your part to protect them. This is true of all earthly possessions, even those belonging to the most powerful men on earth. God has given you the money that is in your pocket, the clothes that cover your nakedness, the food on your table, and the home that keeps you warm. Be very careful that these blessings be not damaged, wasted, or stolen, and you will always have enough of them for yourself and your family. Even when God provides the lazy man with possessions, he wastes them, but the diligent man esteems the rewards of his labor to be great riches and takes good care of them.
Someone who doesn’t want to work can always find a reason not to do so, but righteousness enables a man to face and to manage life’s responsibilities easily enough. To a lazy man, if it is not too hot to work, then it’s too cold. Because conditions seem to him never to be right for working, he comes to poverty and has to survive by depending upon the generosity of others. Even if the weather is perfect, he will find some pretext for not working, such as, “I thought I heard a lion growling outside last night. I even saw him in the shadows. He might eat me if I go outside today.” Any excuse will satisfy his unclean spirit, even if it is transparently absurd to a reasonable man. A committee of seven geniuses couldn’t convince a lazy man that his reasoning is wrong. He would consider them fools, and their warnings would seem to him to be nothing more than malevolent schemes to force him to do their will.
The slothful fear the responsibilities and risks that come with having a business, but if you ever make any money, son, you’ll have to spend some. Do not be overly concerned with the responsibilities and expenses necessary to run your business. It is true that those who own equipment have the responsibility to keep them maintained; but then, those who have few or no responsibilities also have little or nothing to eat.
When a slothful person is entrusted with an important task, he disappoints those who trust him and irritates them like a toothache, or smoke in the eyes; then, he is demoted to handle unimportant matters with other lazy, unprofitable people. The man who strives for excellence in his work, however, will not have to labor among such base men; he will be given a position of authority in higher places. Approach all your tasks with determination to accomplish them completely and well; sloppy, careless work amounts to nothing but wasted time. Once diligence becomes a part of your character, even your thoughts tend to bring you profit. Diligence in labor, you will learn, does not necessarily imply speediness; a hasty man makes foolish mistakes that rob him of his profit and put him in a financial bind. A diligent man carefully considers his options and does not succumb to pressures to make quick decisions. In business, remember that hurry makes worry, and debt, regret.