So is the lazy man to those who send him.
Proverbs 10:26 (NIV) As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so are sluggards to those who send them.
Proverbs 10:26 (NLT) Lazy people irritate their employers,
like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.
Proverbs 10:26 (MES) A lazy employee will give you nothing but trouble;
it’s vinegar in the mouth, smoke in the eyes.
Sluggard - habitually lazy person; a lazy, sleepy, slow-moving person; loves sleep and hates work; habitually lazy, idle and inactive; a person who is lazy, stupid, or idle by habit; indolent, laggard, loafer, drone.
In one of my favorite British comedies, Keeping Up Appearances, there are 4 sisters: Hyacinth, Violet, Rose and Daisy. Their father is elderly and suffers dementia. Hyacinth loves her daddy but is very ashamed of his dementia, his lack of social status. Daisy is married to Onslow and she affectionately describes him as "bone idle". She, Onslow and Rose live "on the dole" which in America would be living on government welfare. Violet is a mentioned character but you rarely see her. She is married to a wealthy man and she has "a Mercedes, a home with a pool, sauna and room for a pony"! Her husband is always into some weird and embarrassing sex practices. Hyacinth is the middle class sister married to a timid Richard. They are middle aged, middle class, middle income but Hyacinth is deeply proud and wants everyone to think she's a wealthy, aristocratic socialite. She's very ashamed of Daisy, Onslow and Rose. And she loves to tell everyone about her sister who has a large house "with room for a pony". When she talks to Violet and she hears about her husband's latest fetish, Hyacinth tries to ignore that part and counsels her sister to overlook and stay with him because he's rich. When she talks to Daisy, she is critical of Onslow because he doesn't work and they live in a slum. When she talks to Rose (played by 2 different actresses) she's always encouraging her to find a rich man, someone with status. When I think of a sluggard, I think of Onslow.
Let's look at someone who was a hard worker, the Apostle Paul. He worked primarily for God as he led others to Christ and started churches. But he also did manual labor to cover his own expenses so that no one could accuse him of doing it for the money. Let's look at some clues he left us in his letters to different churches:
Acts 18:1-4 (NLT) 1 Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. 3 Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.
4 Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike.
1 Corinthians 4:9-13 (CEV) 9 It seems to me that God has put us apostles in the worst possible place. We are like prisoners on their way to death. Angels and the people of this world just laugh at us. 10 Because of Christ we are thought of as fools, but Christ has made you wise. We are weak and hated, but you are powerful and respected. 11 Even today we go hungry and thirsty and don't have anything to wear except rags. We are mistreated and don't have a place to live. 12 We work hard with our own hands, and when people abuse us, we wish them well. When we suffer, we are patient. 13 When someone curses us, we answer with kind words. Until now we are thought of as nothing more than the trash and garbage of this world.
1 Corinthian 9:1-23 (NLT) 1 Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord? 2 Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle.
3 This is my answer to those who question my authority. 4 Don’t we have the right to live in your homes and share your meals? 5 Don’t we have the right to bring a believing wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter does? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves?
7 What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? 8 Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing? 9 For the law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this? 10 Wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest.
11 Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink? 12 If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.
13 Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. 14 In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. 15 Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. 16 Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!
17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.
19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
2 Corinthians 2:17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-9 (NIV) 1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children a among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
The Apostle Paul took pride in preaching and teaching without charge to anyone. He lived to preach about salvation through Jesus Christ, the gospel. But he worked a day job to cover his own expenses. He probably rarely had time to be "idle" and certainly not, as Daisy would say, "bone idle".
Being a good worker, a hard worker, an honest and dependable worker will usually take you far. If you are reliable and do a good job, you are usually rewarded. If you are a slacker and everyone else has to take up the slack and do more work because you don't do your job, you will have consequences. Your co-workers won't like working with you. Your boss looks for ways to get rid of you. You don't get promotions or raises. You might not get a good work reference when you apply for another job. You will be the first to be laid off in a general lay off. If you manage to keep your job, you will face conflict and tension with co-workers who are tired of doing your work for you and from customers and clients who don't appreciate you wasting their time.
Have you ever seen a worker who is slow, inept, inefficient? My niece and I took her children to a drive-in restaurant. They took our order and we paid for it at the menu board where we parked in their parking lot. The poor young man who brought us our order had not gotten it right. He ended up making 3 trips back and forth to get it right. He had the printed out ticket but he kept getting it messed up. I don't know if he couldn't read or just wouldn't take the time to read it. But it cost him in back and forth trips. We tried to be kind about it but you know there are people out there that won't be. All he had to do was read the ticket and place the items on a tray and bring it to us. But he wasn't going to go to the trouble of doing that and we had to keep telling him what we were missing. It seems we probably had been mixed up with another order. It's not only aggravating for the customer, but for him too because he was the one having to make the trips back and forth.
- Have you ever gone to a business where the employee is sluggish, lazy, inefficient, and unreliable (gets the orders mixed up)? Is it aggravating? Waiting in line because someone is slow and doesn't care? You get your order and you have to go through it to make sure it's right and to get them do it again? I'm sure you have, now how did you handle it? With grace and patience? With understanding? With gritted teeth ("like vinegar to the teeth")? Or did you have a tantrum, jump across the counter and throttle the employee? Journal about the correct way to handle it and why.
- Have you ever worked with, or employed, someone who is a sluggard? Is it irritating like "smoke in the eyes"?
- Have you ever been a sluggard at home or on the job? Would someone consider you "bone idle"? Now that you have read this post, what are you thinking? Time for a change? Are people enabling you to be lazy? Are they doing the work for you? How fair is that to them? Are people saddled with doing their job and yours too?
- Are you appreciative of a good worker? If you are an employer, how have you rewarded good work? If you are a co-worker, how have you shown appreciation to those who work hard around you. Many hands make light work. A good co-worker makes going to work easier and a joy. Show some appreciation. Are you a customer or client and you have received good service? How can you reward the worker?
For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.