A New View of Work: The Condemnation of Indolence

The condemnation of an act’s opposite is often evidence of its virtue.

Chastity is a virtue; the Bible condemns sexual immorality;

We are called to love others, and the Bible says the person who hates is a murderer. (I John 3:14-15). The strong condemnation of hatred shouts of the paramount importance of love.

This is certainly true of work. The Bible’s condemnation of its opposite–laziness or indolence–is pervasive and unequivocal:

Prov. 6:6—“Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise.”
Prov. 6:8—“How long will you lie down, O sluggard?  When will you arise from your sleep.”
Prov. 10:26—”Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy one to those who send him.”
Prov. 12:24—“The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor.”
Prov. 12:27—“A slothful man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence.”
Prov. 13:4—“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.”
Prov. 15:19—“The way of the sluggard is a hedge of thorns…”
Prov. 19:15—“Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger.”
Prov. 20:4—“The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest…”
Prov. 21:5—“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage…”
Prov. 21:25—“The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work.”
Prov. 22:13—“The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside; I shall be slain in the streets.”
Prov. 26:14—“As door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed.”
Eccl. 9:10—”Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might…”
Eccl. 10:18—“Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks.”
Eccl. 11:6—“Sow your seed in the morning, and do not be idle in the evening . . .”
Matt. 25:26—”You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not sow . . .”

If you want to know whether work is a righteous act, look no further than the Bible’s pervasive condemnation of indolence. GS

Leave a Reply