Sloth: Robs the World of You, and You of Life

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On Sunday we looked at the sin of sloth. At first glance this doesn’t seem like a sin at all. I mean, is God really against rest and relaxation? Clearly he isn’t, because he commands us to rest. I think the point of the sin of sloth is actually a refusal to respond to God’s calling in the world. Being slothful is not about resting, but refusing to enter the world in God’s way. Sloth is not physical laziness, but at its core it’s spiritual laziness to take God’s calling seriously. It’s not about resting but not following God when he asks us. The world is bursting with God-given possiblites, and sloth is saying no, staying in bed, making excuses, and not taking responsibility. That’s what the sin of sloth is. And that’s also why it’s deadly.

If sloth is saying no to God; then being slothful severs your connection with God, and robs the world of how God wants to use you. You are needed in the world, you have a particular makeup, gifting, and personality that God wants to use. Saying no to him, robs the world of a gift that only you can bring. This is why it is serious and damaging. It hurts our relationship with God, and hurts the world by us refusing to enter into it.

So we looked at how in Proverbs there are at least three reasons why we choose to be slothful. Sometimes it’s out of pride and ego. We only engage if we are in charge and recognized. We don’t serve unless we are leading, taking point, or given a title. Sometimes we don’t engage because of fear. We worry, make excuses, and focus more on the possibility of failure than being faithful. And sometimes it’s just pure self-interest. We don’t take resposniblty for ourselves or our calling and simply pass the buck.

We ended with realizing that this is a serious sin, and it has nothing to do with resting or relaxing. We can easily be busy and hardworking and still slothful – still refusing to say yes to God’s invitation to change the world. So we ended off with a challenge. A challenge to take time away this week to rest and relax and reflect on three questions:

  1. Is there anything in our lives hindering us from saying yes to God? Are we too busy, too fearful, too prideful, too….whatever. Is there anything that is stopping us from truly following God, and if so, we need to deal with it.
  2. How are we investing in our relationship with God? If being slothful is not responding to God, that assumes a relationship with God. So are we investing in that relationship?
  3. Have we neglected any important relationships? Being slothful is often about neglecting those God-gvien responsibilities. So have we  been slothful in our marriage, in our parenting, or in our relationships? And if so, how can we invest in them.

So that’s what we explored and learned. Being slothful isn’t about rest, but refusal of God. A semi-ironic ending is that closed the service challenging people to actually take some rest this week, and reflect on those questions. Who would have guessed a sermon on slothfulness actually encouraged rest and reflection?


Teaching Notes:

Big Idea Being slothful robs the world of you, and it robs you of life.

Take Aways…

  • As the door turns on its hinges so a sluggard turns on the bed. Proverbs 26:14
  • The lazy person is full of excuse, saying “I can’t go outside because there might be a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!” Proverbs 26:13
  • The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth. Proverbs 19:24
  • God is not anti-rest.
  • The sin of sloth is really a refusal to enter into the world around us
  • Sloth is not physical laziness, but at its core its spiritual laziness to take God’s calling seriously
  • Sloth is saying no to the world and no to God.
  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke
  • The world needs you.
  • Roots of Sloth: Ego, Fear, and Self-Centredness
  • Being a sloth or a sluggard robs the world of you, and it robs you of life.
  • Is there anything stopping you from joining in with God in the world?
  • How can you this week attend to your spiritual life?
  • “Sloth has come to be synonymous with physical laziness, but he original greek word acedia has a rather different meaning. Acedia is spiritual listlessness or laziness. It is the antithesis of worship. Sloth is the neglect of the greatest commandment: to love your lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Michael Mangis
  • Is there any relationship we are not attending to?

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

Have you ever thought about Sloth in this way? What was different or new about this perspective? Would you say that Sloth is something you struggle with? What is God’s calling on your life? What is he asking you to say yes to him with now? Who can help you to say yes to him?

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families: Today talk to your kids about the sin of sloth. Talk to them how its not about being lazy, but not being responsible. Talk to them about what they are responsible for (i.e. cleaning up toys, doing dishes, etc). Ask them why its important to do those things. Then talk to them about how we each are unique and have special gifts to give. Use this as a time to share with each of them what you see as their unique gift to give to the world.

Challenge for this Week: Reflect on the three question in a time of rest

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