Vinegar, Smoke, and a Sluggard

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

“As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him” (Proverbs 10:26 KJV).

What do vinegar, smoke, and a sluggard have in common? Today’s Scripture gives us the interesting explanation.

Firstly, vinegar is an acid, so over time, it will corrode tooth enamel. To the structure of the tooth, vinegar is irritating. Secondly, smoke annoys the eyes by causing them to sting (burn). Lastly, a sluggard aggravates those who charge him with responsibility because he will never get the job done! Vinegar, smoke, and sluggards are all bothersome.

The book of Proverbs makes five other references to the “sluggard.” Read Proverbs 13:4: “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” God’s Word says that lazy people always beg for something, but it also says that hard workers will prosper. Consider Proverbs 20:4: “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.” The sluggard never gets the job done!

So, God commands, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11).

Lastly, Proverbs 26:16: “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.” A lazy person thinks his activity is acceptable, and nothing will cause him to believe otherwise: he is “wiser in his own conceit.” Isaiah 5:21: “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul writes this to sluggards in this the Dispensation of Grace: “If any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Be not a sluggard!

Busybodies with Busy Lips and Idle Bodies

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 KJV).

The church at Thessalonica was one of the Apostle Paul’s exemplary assemblies. They exhibited spiritual growth, and their testimony impacted their lost and saved neighbors for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 1:3-10). Their love for one another was also noteworthy (4:9,10). However, some of the Thessalonian believers were guilty of being busy… only with their lips.

In his first letter, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians: “[We beseech you to] study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (4:11). Some of these believers were so busy moving their lips that their bodies never moved (lazy). What little they did, they were interfering in the lives of others (being meddlesome), and then repeating the matter to others. This was obviously problematic, and Paul warned them to do less talking (“be quiet!”) and more work.

Perhaps a year or two later, Paul writes to the Thessalonians again. In today’s Scripture, we read that the previous issue—the busybodies with the busy lips and the idle bodies—is still unresolved. There are still believers who “are walking disorderly, working not at all.” Instead, these “busybodies” must be told again, “work with quietness” and “eat [your] own bread.” Yes, Paul had to tell some believers to quit being lazy, to quit mooching off of others, to work, and to do their tasks quietly (minding their own business and avoiding gossip).

Saints, we need to guard against laziness and busy lips (gossiping). We are just as human as the Thessalonians; we need to take an opportunity to examine our hearts in this regard. Am I guilty of gossiping or being lazy? If yes to either, why not obey today’s Scripture by faith?