At the start of the New Year, it’s often good to review our life’s direction and goals. One thing to consider is how much any of “the Seven Deadly Sins” (Pride, Greed, Envy, Anger, Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth) have a hold on our lives.
The Seven Deadly Sins are not listed as such in the Bible. Yet each one is independently condemned in various passages of the Scriptures. In fact, most of the Seven Deadly Sins have several Bible verses against them. The one I want to focus on here is Sloth.
We don’t think of Sloth or Laziness as a sin per se. But surely it is. Leonardo da Vinci once said,
“God sells us all things at the price of labor.” Sadly, today, millions are choosing to live off of the labor of others without even thinking about it. (Of course, if someone is disabled and unable to work, that is a different matter.)
Did you ever hear about the patient who went for a very thorough examination by a doctor? The patient said that he wanted the doctor to be frank about what was wrong with him. The doctor asked him if he was quite sure about this. The patient replied in the affirmative.
Said the doctor, “There isn't a thing in the world wrong with you, except that you are just lazy.'' The patient answered, “Okay, doc. Now give me the medical term for it, so I can tell my wife.”
God created work before the fall. Work is good. Since the fall, the earth is under a curse, and we experience that curse in one way or another each day.
God declared to Adam in judgment: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Gen. 3:17-19).
Nevertheless, we are still commanded to do our own work, even if it is difficult. In the Ten Commandments (and elsewhere in the Bible). God tells us, “Six days shall work be done.” The Apostle Paul commends work (Col. 3:23), and even connects it with having food (2 Thess. 3:10).
The Greeks and the Romans used their slaves to do their hard work. In ancient Greece, about 75 percent of the population was slaves. In Rome, it was about half. Larry Burkett points out: “The Greeks degraded into a nation of idle talkers who were easily overrun by the Romans.”
We get a taste of that in Acts 17, when Paul spoke before the Areopagus in Athens: "For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear something new" (Acts 17:21).