What’s a sluggard? It’s defined as someone who is habitually inactive or lazy. I know few people identify as sluggards. No, we are “busy.” We wear “busy” like a badge and whether what we are doing is really productive or leading us to where we want to go or not is secondary, busy-ness is valuable in and of itself, or so it often seems.
I try to stay on top of this and intentional as I can be I often get to the end of a day or even a week and wonder what have I really accomplished? Sometimes time seems to float away on a gentle breeze. When I do something of substance, like preach a sermon, visit a sick person, or coach a soccer team, I tend to end my day feeling good, like I accomplished something tangible. Like if I could stack a bunch of those days together and look back on them I would like what I saw.
Proverbs says, Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. What a shame because I bet the sluggard didn’t even know they were a sluggard, I bet they thought they were working hard, I bet they were “busy,” they just didn’t really get anywhere, like a car stuck in traffic burning gas and creating pollution and taking time, but not accomplishing much.
In my life one of the great signs sloth is embedding itself in my life is my ability to “finish” a Netflix series. When did it become an “accomplishment” to “finish” Brooklyn 99?
I heard someone say recently that we can all state our priorities: family, health, friendship, maybe we throw in faith, the environment, finances, whatever. But saying these things matter and acting on them are different and so the sluggard “tries hard” and “looks back to find nothing.” It is a warning. The person said what we need to do is watch and identify our “functional priorities.” A functional priority is what we do when we know we are short on time.
When we do not have enough time do we ignore our spouse or kids or friends?
When we do not have enough time do we skip the workout or walk?
When we do not have enough time do we grab a bag of chips rather than make a meal?
When we do not have enough time do we read the newspaper instead of the bible?
When we do not have enough time do we check Facebook instead of pray?
When we are feeling rushed we often seek comfort, which makes sense but sadly we are all broken and fallible and so the comforts we seek in the moment almost always cost us something dear. We undermine our very values and priorities, and we do it instinctually. We are the sluggards.
As covid (hopefully) winds down, are there habits you have comforted yourself with that you need to give up now?
Is there a habit you have had on hold lately?
Maybe something you enjoyed before the pandemic that you could pick up again?
Or perhaps something from even earlier?
Is there a meal you used to cook that you might enjoy cracking open the old cookbook for now?
Is there a habit that used to help you feel connected to Jesus that somehow you have drifted away from?
What we look back on will be the decisions we make today, the question is will we appreciate the harvest of what we have reaped.
We are all busy, but we don’t all have to be sluggards.