The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
but the path of the upright is a level highway.
For a lazy person there always seems some kind of obstacle to prevent him from making progress. He is an “unlucky” person. For some reason he can’t get ahead. For each job he takes, he somehow gets an unreasonable boss or works with people hard to get along with. If he is a student, his teachers are too demanding and unfair. He would exercise but his schedule keeps him from it. Someday he is going to consider religion but there is too much going on right now to give it proper time.
For the upright, however, progress seems smoother. To the sluggard, the upright gets the lucky breaks or plays up to their bosses or teachers. It does not occur to him that the upright’s conscientious commitment to abiding by the rules, making no excuses, and taking pride in doing good work are the real reasons for his progress. Nor does it occur to the sluggard that for the upright such behavior is a matter of ethics. That is why the proverb contrasts the sluggard, not with the energetic but the upright.
The upright will seem more energetic because he does more work. But he is motivated, not so much by the need to get ahead, but by the desire to do what is right before the Lord. He wants to please the Lord as his Master. That is why he can work under unfair teachers and overly-demanding bosses; why he can work along disgruntled workers. Unlike the sluggard who looks for circumstances to excuse him from progressing, the upright does not let circumstances be the deciding factor for doing quality work. Because his relationship with God remains the same in Christ, it is that relationship, not changing circumstances that moves him along the highway.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org