The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth. -- Proverbs 19:24
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Sloths in the Bog
It is probably possible to be pragmatic without being wise, but wisdom is always practical because the wise recognize things as they are. Sloth is more than being allergic to work. The sluggard here is much like our modern nihilists. Life is too much trouble.
As one prone to depression, I know part of the cure is sleep, but another part is positive activity. I am most vulnerable to despair when there is nothing I can do. As long as there is action, gloom is pushed aside. When things are out of our hands we are more likely to begin to feel hopeless. It can feel as though there is no sense in eating, that my eating would be a waste of food. It’s all pointless.
That’s what the Bible means by sloth, and it is a deadly sin. Not only can it lead to various forms of acute and chronic self-destruction, it is a stepping away from faith, casting aside all that God has given us. Even for someone like me, extraordinary only in my ordinariness, my life, strength, and resources -- such as they are, are divine gifts that I should use as fully as possible in service to the Lord and to others.
Faith tells me that I am not here without a reason. Moses thoroughly messed things up and spent forty years aimlessly following sheep on the backside of nowhere. His life still had a destiny. Joshua and Caleb were forced by the faithlessness of the majority to live as dusty nomads, also for forty years. Yet they remained leaders and conquerors. David was anointed king of Israel only to spend wasted years as a desperate fugitive, outlawed by Saul’s madness. His destiny was, nevertheless, secure.
Whether we have come to a point of dejection through our own fault or someone else’s or life in general, we can remain in or return to the will of God by trusting Him. When we are in it, the Slough of Despond appears endless with extrication impossible. This is not so. As Bunyan said, it is our doubt and apprehensions that fill the bog and the weight of our burden of sin and guilt that causes us to sink into it. Let us cast our cares upon Christ who has promised to bear our burdens and go on through.