What Does the Bible Say About Laziness?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 18, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week I wrote about what the Bible says about work, so today we’re looking at the opposite side of that: what the Bible says about laziness. Google defines laziness as, “the quality of being unwilling to work or use energy; idleness.” So being lazy is the opposite of being willing to work.

The book of Proverbs has a whole lot of references to a lazy or idle person! I’ll list just a few here, since there are so many.

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4)

“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24)

“The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.” (Proverbs 12:27)

“A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” (Proverbs 13:4)

“One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9)

Laziness is mentioned in other parts of the Bible too, of course. Paul talks about it pretty thoroughly in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. He delivers a pretty severe warning against those who are idle and lazy. He shares how he works for a living rather than simply living off what others provide, so that he can be a model for them to imitate. He commands the people of Thessalonica to earn what they receive, work for a living, and not be lazy.

Having a life of laziness means that one would not provide for themselves or their own family. Paul warns against this in 1 Timothy 5:8: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Of course there are situations where a person is physically unable to do certain jobs for a living and provide for themselves in this way, but if a person is capable of doing anything to provide for themselves and their family (whether it’s a paying income or just bettering society), then they should do that, rather than living a life of laziness.

Note that laziness is different from rest. God modeled (Genesis 2:2-3) then commanded (Exodus 20:8-11) that we all honor His example and rest from our work one day a week. That is not laziness, but fulfilling what God has commanded us to do. Times of rest are required for our bodies to recharge and be able to do the work that God has called us to do.

So, what the Bible says about laziness is basically that it’s the opposite of working. God created work and we are called to do it; laziness is going against what God has designed for us as human beings.

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