Up for some sarcasm, anyone? My pops, whose sense of humor I share and appreciate (and by the way “Happy Belated Father’s Day” to the dads out there), will spin the saying about procrastination to instead jokingly be, “yep, don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow!” We laugh at such a joke. But how often do we find it to be a principle we’re either considering or already living by? Procrastination…it can be an expression of laziness as it’s having a habitual unwillingness to work towards getting something done. As we’ll see in a bit, it’s nothing new opting to procrastinate now…and panic later!
That said, day nine is Proverbs 6:1-11…
“1 MY SON, IF YOU HAVE BECOME SURETY FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR, HAVE GIVEN A PLEDGE FOR A STRANGER, 2 IF YOU HAVE BEEN SNARED WITH THE WORDS OF YOUR MOUTH, HAVE BEEN CAUGHT WITH THE WORDS OF YOUR MOUTH, 3 DO THIS THEN, MY SON, AND DELIVER YOURSELF; SINCE YOU HAVE COME INTO THE HAND OF YOUR NEIGHBOR, GO, HUMBLE YOURSELF, AND IMPORTUNE YOUR NEIGHBOR. 4 GIVE NO SLEEP TO YOUR EYES, NOR SLUMBER TO YOUR EYELIDS; 5 DELIVER YOURSELF LIKE A GAZELLE FROM THE HUNTER’S HAND AND LIKE A BIRD FROM THE HAND OF THE FOWLER. 6 GO TO THE ANT, O SLUGGARD, OBSERVE HER WAYS AND BE WISE, 7 WHICH, HAVING NO CHIEF, OFFICER OR RULER, 8 PREPARES HER FOOD IN THE SUMMER AND GATHERS HER PROVISION IN THE HARVEST. 9 HOW LONG WILL YOU LIE DOWN, O SLUGGARD? WHEN WILL YOU ARISE FROM YOUR SLEEP? 10 ‘A LITTLE SLEEP, A LITTLE SLUMBER, A LITTLE FOLDING OF THE HANDS TO REST’— 11 YOUR POVERTY WILL COME IN LIKE A VAGABOND AND YOUR NEED LIKE AN ARMED MAN.”
PROVERBS 6:1-11, NASB
My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, have given a pledge for a stranger, if you have been snared with the words of your mouth, have been caught with the words of your mouth. Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor. Most of us are likely all too familiar with the experience of saying something only to then realize that we had just stuck our foot in our mouth…again! Ooopps. It’s one of those moments in which we find that we had spoken too soon or spoken without thinking it through. Impulsivity often leads to entrapment and ensnarement.
It is no accident that this passage about impulsivity references “the words of your mouth.” James 3:3-6 explains, “Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell” (NASB). The tongue, the words of our mouths, can present a world of evil among the parts of the body.
Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids; deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand and like a bird from the hand [or snare] of the fowler. This deals with almost a polar extreme of impulsivity― laziness. “No sleep…nor slumber” should be understood as that which is unnecessary, done to (or to attempt to) escape from productivity and the responsibilities of life. (And in the immediate context, the laziness is used to avoid problem solving and seeking reconciliation due to the former impulsivity.) This will only lead to MORE entrapment and ensnarement…in essence, digging yourself into an ever-deepening whole, i.e.: NOT GOOD! This is advice too critical to ignore.
Go to the ant, o sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest. The ant knows that laziness leads to inescapable ruin. The ant knows that doing nothing will result in having nothing. Note that the ant is diligent in taking the initiative to secure what is necessary for its sustenance and survival regardless of the fact that it requires WORK and ENERGY. Excuses are our adversaries.
But this proverb is ancient, isn’t it? The lesson to be learned from the ant is time honored…and needed more now than ever before, if I may be so bold. Take a look at the falsehood of entitlement that is plaguing this generation– and don’t even get me started on the subject of the enablement that is fueling it. Doing nothing will result in having nothing! Here’s what comes of such laziness: poverty. Poverty that “come[s] in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:11, NASB).
How long will you lie down, o sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest’— your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man. Habits…the longer they persist the harder they are to change. And it gets worse and worse when we make excuses for our bad habits too…”it’s just a LITTLE.” That’s a delusion. “A little more” becomes “a lot more” often after it’s too late to realize it. Laziness, and the habits thereof, is a process of exploitation. It takes absolute advantage of indolent (the lazy person) until everything is tapped out (including their independence and dignity) and they’re left with nothing. (And by the way “Happy Belated Independence Day”, let’s cherish and preserve our freedom!) Proverbs continues to give us several stern warnings on this subject.
Let us heed and be aware of it as to avoid the perils of both impulsivity and laziness!
Until Next Time,
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