Proverbs 26:13-16 describes the sluggard. This word only appears in the book of Proverbs and it is used exclusively within the context of work. A sluggard is an able bodied person who refuses to work. They can and should be working but they choose not to. The sluggard’s life is characterized by poverty rather than sufficiency.
Proverbs 26:13-16 reads:
The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly.
These verses reveal three characteristics of the sluggard.
The sluggard makes excuses for not working.
The sluggard rejects God’s mandate requiring mankind to have a productive work-life.
Careers are demanding and full of uncertainties. Career paths are seldom straight and there are no guarantees. But these realities should not stop you from getting a job, showing up to work, and achieving success in your life.
The sluggard is lazy.
He “turns on his bed” and “buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.” He chooses to be inactive and to not work.
Proverbs 6:9-11 tells us that too much sleep leads to poverty. The verses read:
How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? … Poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
Proverbs 10:4 says, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth,” and Proverbs 20:13, “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.”
Sluggards do not do well in life because they are lazy and they sleep too much.
Sluggards think they are wiser than the rest of us.
Be the opposite of the sluggard. Proverbs 12:15 declares, “A wise man listens to advice.” Learn from other successful people. Grow while in your job. Remain teachable and be change-ready.
Proverbs 6:6-8 has good advice for the sluggard, as well as, every believer:
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
Sluggards don’t work, and as a consequence they live in poverty, but your good work yields provisions and brings a harvest.
Finally, an unemployed person who is looking for work or is retired or is not healthy enough to work is not a sluggard.