Laziness Is Common Today – Even Though God Has Warned Of These Consequences

“He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.” Proverbs 10:5

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One of the Seven Deadly Sins is laziness, or sloth. This little piece of wisdom deals with the consequences of sloth and its opposite, which is fortitude. Laziness is common to all of us. It is especially experienced in our youth, our teenage years.

Some learn quickly to overcome their laziness through the experience of the good consequences that come from hard work. They develop the habit, the virtue of fortitude and become useful and productive members of the family. They then go into the work world prepared to do the hard work of a free life. They are the ones that have learned that when you do the necessary and hard work that is required in a timely fashion, you reap the benefits of it later. I used to tell my college students that if they practiced the art of due diligence by starting to do their homework assignments the day that they were assigned, if they developed the fortitude to take the pains of doing the hard work first, before they “played” they would find that they would have more time for the leisure they desired, and would enjoy it more than if they “played” first and waited until the last minute to do the work. Some took the advice, many didn’t. And it usually showed in the quality of their work.

Some, sadly, do not get the wisdom of this for a long time, and some never do. The unwanted, unforeseen consequences come home to roost in either case. Those who develop the habit of sloth instead of the habit of fortitude, generally find themselves on the wrong side of their desires more often than not. What can make it worse, for them, and for the rest of us, is that they also develop the habit of blaming others, or circumstances, or anything, for their suffering. Their laziness becomes so embedded in their character that even if they see the problem is them, they also see how hard it will be to change their ways, and they let the opportunities for their own growth slip away, unwilling, or afraid to take on the hard work that would really make their situations and lives better.

Like all wisdoms, this one reveals a vital truth related to our moral, social, and spiritual well being. If we do the work that is before us, if we harvest in the proper time, we will reap the profits from our labors in our ethical lives, in our material lives, in our intellectual lives, and in our religious/spiritual lives. Work is noble. It gives meaning and purpose to our lives. It gives us the means to live, and to live well. It is a source of our dignity as human beings. Laziness saps us of our energy, our dignity, and our worth. It denies our God-given skills, and turns us inward. It is by its very nature, fruitless. There can be no gain in it. There is nothing in it that engenders life, within or without. Finally, it is shameful to waste one’s talents and, in the end, one’s life. If we truly believe that God has given us life and intellect and skills of all kinds, it is our duty to give thanks for these gifts by using them well and in a timely fashion. We are made by God in a special way to give him glory with our minds, our bodies, and our souls. We give glory to God by living our lives courageously, by using our gifts, not just to improve ourselves and our own lives, but to serve others, to serve the common good. This is the core of today’s wisdom verse from Proverbs; to prudently choose to gather in the proper time.

Lord, help us to recognize where we may be lazy. Give us the graces we need to develop the habits of strength and courage to carry out the duties that are placed before us in our daily lives. You are the source of all that is good. You are the end our hearts were made to seek. Teach us to work with thanksgiving, to undertake our labors with love toward you and our neighbors. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.