Thursday, March 30, 2017

This thing called laziness

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“Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste” – Proverbs 13:23.

One very important life truth I have learned is that everyone, I mean every single human being, is given a wealth of gifts, resources and opportunities in his lifetime to succeed. If anyone ends up poor in life, it is not because of a lack of opportunities or that God didn’t bless such one with natural gifts that could be translated to wealth or, at the very least, a comfortable life.

A lot of times, the reason many end up in poverty is laziness. Granted, there may be other factors that contribute to one’s condition, but ultimately, it comes down to what the individual did or, put better, failed to do, as a result of laziness.

The Scripture (especially the Book of Proverbs) has quite a lot to say about laziness - from the nature of the lazy man to how he will end up as he continues in his laziness.

First, let’s see how some dictionaries define laziness…(emphasis mine):
“The quality of being UNWILLING to work or USE energy” –
“AVERSE or DISINCLINED to work, activity or exertion” –
“NOT LIKING to work hard or to be active” –

All of these definitions have one thing in common, let’s take a look at it:

Oxford Dictionary calls the lazy person, “unwilling”; says he is “disinclined” or “averse”, while Merriam Webster puts it as “not liking” – all pointing to the lazy person’s attitude, not physical state.

It is not that the lazy person lacks the energy to do work, it is his attitude towards exerting work that is wrong – that’s where the problem lies.

For me, laziness is the attitude, the mindset that avoids work, especially work that makes you go out of your comfort zone; work that is mentally and physically exerting.

Laziness is the opposite of diligence, which I define as consistent hard work. Hard work, as the name suggests, is hard; this explains why only a few of us are able to do it consistently overtime, and those few are the ones who rise to very top of the ladder in life.

Laziness shirks hard work, both of a physical and (more importantly) of a mental nature.

Let’s understand the nature of the lazy person; that is, the characteristic traits of the lazy person so as to ascertain if we have such traits.

If the lazy person tries at all, he gives up too easily, at the first significant hurdle. Who achieves great success without overcoming great hurdles?

Giving up too easily, at the first hurdle, shows that you do not want to exert yourself too much; it shows that you do not want to push beyond the boundary of your previous limits. It’s a lazy mindset to want to remain within the confines of your comfort zone, and not give that extra that turns ordinary into extraordinary.

Want to achieve great success? Then be ready to overcome great hurdles! Want to achieve unprecedented success? Be ready to face unprecedented hurdles! That is the rule of life.

As a consequence of his mindset that shirks hard work, the lazy person has ready-made excuses to explain his failure.

I don’t know anyone who would pay a premium to attend a seminar or conference where a bunch of failures would dish out the excuses for their failure in life! Or do you anyone who would? I don't think so. That’s because nobody is really interested in excuses. Nobody is really interested in why someone failed, rather they are interested in tips and secrets of success, not excuses for failure.

Even if you are interested in someone’s excuses for failure, you’re probably doing that out of sympathy for the individual’s plight.

I am not implying that there are no challenges that are significant enough to make someone fail in his/her attempt to attain success, by no means! Challenges are real, and they can hinder us from attaining our goals; but challenges should not stop nor deter us; rather, they should drive us to become better, stronger and wiser to overcome them. Challenges are for overcoming; shun excuses!

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The problem of the lazy person is not that he does not want to work, but that he does not want to do work that is physically and mentally exerting, work that pushes him out of his comfort zone (what he is used to).

When it comes to getting work done (especially seemingly hard work), I have realised that the hardest part is deciding and determining in your heart to do the work; once your mind is fixed on doing the work, the actual doing part is easy. When your heart is fixed on getting it done no matter what, the mental, as well as other resources, you would require to actually get it done would become available to you.

Scripture abounds with evidence that God dislikes laziness, especially in His children. He is not a lazy God, and since like begets like, we His children must not be lazy.

Scripture shows us how the lazy is, what he does, or put better, what he fails to do...
1. Our anchor text (Proverbs 13:23) is one of such Scriptures…“Much food is in the FALLOW GROUND of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste”. (emphasis mine).

2. Also, Proverbs 12:27, “The lazy man DOES NOT ROAST WHAT HE TOOK IN HUNTING, but diligence is man’s precious possession.” (again emphasis mine).

3. Again, "The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing" (Proverbs 20:4); similarly, Proverbs 22:13 says, "The lazy man says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets".

1) the lazy had fertile land ("much food is in"), but left it "fallow" (uncultivated, undeveloped), and as a result, ended up poor; 2) the lazy failed to "roast" (that is, develop, process) what he took in hunting (the natural endowment); 3) the lazy shirks hard work and fails in his mind even before he makes an attempt.

Further, Scripture admonishes us repeatedly against the dangers of laziness and how the lazy will end up...

1. "The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labour." (Proverbs 12:24).

2. "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich" (Proverbs 13:4).

3. The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway" (Proverbs 15:19).

From the foregoing texts, we see that the poor person did not end up poor because he lacked talent, energy, resources or opportunity; but because he failed to diligently cultivate and develop them to attain success and wealth. He lacked the attitude of diligence.

Put simply, the lazy, like the diligent, is given plenty by providence; he will, however, end up with little or worse, nothing unlike the diligent.

With all this emphasis on diligence and hard work, what then is the place of grace in attaining success in life as a child of God? You might be wondering. Good question!

Yes, as Scripture says, we are saved by grace through faith, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8). Indeed, we are saved by grace alone; saved (that is, rescued, delivered, freed) from sin and its consequences (including languishing in poverty, helplessness, hopelessness and fruitless efforts); but Scripture never said we become wealthy or successful in our endeavours by grace alone; but by diligence.

Even though we have been freed from the shackles of poverty by grace, we do not move from there to abundance unless by diligence in work.

Kick laziness out of your life today, change your attitude towards work; it is by diligence that we enter into the abundance that grace has made available to us.

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