A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
The sluggard finds it wearisome to do the most basic of tasks that nourish him. He is “so tired.” His problem is not depression, nor is it a physiological illness, both of which can plague any of us. What the sluggard lacks is motivation. Nothing inspires him; nothing brings pleasure except sleep. The most creative thing he is able to do is come up with excuses for why he does nothing.
In the previous proverb we spoke of his lacking discipline, of giving in to an extreme – in this case, sleeping. He has the same problem of the workaholic – unable to discipline himself to keep a balance. Another way of looking at his problem is his unwillingness to “make an effort.” Each day we must make the effort to go about our daily tasks. We make the effort because we are motivated to accomplish something. Our primary motivation is to provide for ourselves. We eat, ultimately, to live. We work to buy what we eat. We think it necessary for survival to have family and friends. Thus, we cultivate relationships and work to provide for our family. The list can go on and become quite complex, but the bottom line is that we must be motivated for whatever we do. The sluggard lacks basic motivation.
We must be careful not to fall into the same rut. The higher and worthier our motivation, the greater work we will do and the greater pleasure we will experience. As life falls into a routine in which we forget our reasons for doing what we do, we slide almost imperceptibly into the life of a sluggard. And the day comes when the most basic of tasks become a burden.
Do not forget the one motivation that is to guide every day of your life. It is wrapped up in why you exist. It is to glorify God. And every small, routine task serves that purpose if you remember why you exist and take delight in that purpose of glorifying God. You can only delight in that purpose if you delight in the God you are to glorify. The sluggard has no love. If you are growing weary of living each day, check if you have not forgotten the love of God that first gave you joy and meaning.
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me;
your love, Lord, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.