Proverbs 10:26

Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.

As vinegar sets teeth on edge and smoke stings the eyes, in the same way the sluggard exasperates and irritates those who depend on him. In this case, he is sent to carry out a work for another – perhaps delivering a message or an item; perhaps retrieving an item. Whatever the case, he wastes time and likely costs his employer money, maybe squandering an opportunity for his employer.

Most of the proverbs are directed towards the “wicked,” “evildoers,” and “fool.” Even so, the sluggard can be as vexing a problem. A sluggard can be wicked and foolish, but often he appears to be a pleasant, care-free person who means no one any harm. But harm is exactly what he causes. The sluggardly worker harms business, costing money, driving clients away, and fermenting resentment among his colleagues. The sluggardly student is more taxing to the teacher than the disruptive student who will at least do his work. The very “good natured” attitude of the sluggard irritates all the more, because it reveals that he really does not care how his behavior affects others. Moreover, the sluggard is less likely to change. A wicked man is more likely to be convicted in his conscience and repent, than a sluggard is to change his lazy habits.

The tendency towards laziness can be found in all of us. Examine yourself about this. You may be a hard worker at some things, only to be a sluggard in other things that matter more. Do you work long hours, putting in extra time to get your work done? Good, but how much effort do you put into prayer? To reading and studying God’s Word? Are you conscientious in getting a project completed? Fine, but how conscientious are you in loving your neighbor? The sluggard’s problem is not that he doesn’t get anything done. He accomplishes what he wants to do – sleep and eat. His problem is not knowing what should be priorities. Our activeness and sluggardliness reveal our priorities.

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