By Michael E. Brooks
“How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep — So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:9-11 NKJV).
The Dhaka newspaper had a front page headline this week, “17 killed as train rams bus in Tangail”. The accident occurred at a level crossing where there is no automatic signal or crossing barriers. Rather, as in most Bangladeshi crossings, the crossing is watched by human crossing guards and the barriers are lowered manually. In explanation of the cause of the accident the newspaper article stated, “The on-duty gateman … was asleep when the accident took place.”
I do not know the circumstances or the gateman’s condition. The accident occurred about 3:00 a.m., a time when sleepiness is normal and even those on duty may find difficulty in staying awake. This guard may be aged or ill. Yet, in this case, sleep was tragic and no excuse can justify such neglect of duty. Military guards may be court-martialed with heavy penalty for sleeping on duty, even if no such tragedy results. The reasons are obvious, and accepted by all.
Others, however, when not in such positions of responsibility, see little harm in idleness and laziness. If one is able to rest, what is the harm? Why should one labor diligently, depriving oneself of rest and relaxation, when a little slumber gives such enjoyment?
The wise man of Proverbs states the case. Slumber (i.e., laziness) is addictive and cumulative. One begins with a few minutes here and there. Then it becomes habit and lifestyle, robbing the sleeper of valuable time, energy and productivity. A few minutes of rest, here and there, but before it is realized opportunity has passed and poverty has come.
Paul exhorts, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
In all activities of life, energy and zeal are rewarding. To the young man Timothy Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Effort is blessed, but laziness brings reproach and failure.
One may not always be in a position where his neglect causes tragic death and suffering. But such results illustrate the importance of care and attention.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
The diligent worker is always prepared, always alert and never neglectful. Such effort will be eternally rewarded.
Slumber (laziness) is addictive and cumulative.