By much slothfulness the building decays; and through idleness of the hands the house drops through.
Religious teachers are sometimes unwilling to touch upon common faults, such as are noticeable by every observer as prevailing too generally in the everyday life of their fellow-men. The Scriptures give no countenance to such negligence, but, on the contrary, deal faithfully with those errors and evil habits which are alien from the Christian character, and which are injurious to: human society. Slothfulness was peculiarly hateful to the writer of this book, who inculcated diligence as a religious duty, and exhibited in homely but effective ways the results of its prevalence.
I. TEMPTATIONS TO SLOTH ARE MANY. Work must be done, some will admit; but it may be left to others, or it may be put off to a more convenient season. Work need not be done, others will declare; much may be left undone which some people think of importance, but which is not really so. Upon the plea of ill health, or mental inability, or preoccupation, multitudes, in this world where there is so much to be done, sink into slothful, indolent habits and a useless life,
II. THE FOLLY OF SLOTH IS EASILY MADE EVIDENT.
1. The slothful man is his own enemy. Had he exerted himself and exercised his powers, he would have grown an abler and a better man. Who does not know persons with undeniable gifts who have "wrapped their talent in a napkin," and who have morally deteriorated, until they have become worthless members of society?
2. The slothful man wrongs society. Every man is born into this world to do a work for the general good. To live in idleness and comfort upon the produce of others' toil is to inflict a positive injury. Others have to labor in order that the idle may be fed. Work is left undone for which the indolent possess, it may be, some peculiar gift. For the life of the slothful the world is none the better.
III. THE SIN OF SLOTH IS CONDEMNED BY THE WORD OF GOD. The Book of Proverbs contains some very striking reflections and statements upon this point. And for the Christian it is enough to consider the example of the Lord Jesus, who with all his consecrated energy devoted himself to his Father's will and work. How alien from the Master's spirit is the habit of the indolent! We cannot lose sight of the fact that, in the last judgment, the "wicked and slothful servant" must hear words of condemnation.
IV. PRESERVATIVES FROM SLOTH MAY BE FOUND IN THE PROVISIONS OF GOD'S GRACE.
1. Prayer prompts to watchfulness and toil.
2. Attention to the counsels and admonitions of God's Word cannot fail to be serviceable in delivering us from temptations to slothfulness.
3. Meditation upon the example of our Savior and Lord will stimulate to diligence and zeal. They who by the indwelling of his Spirit are one with him will share his devotion to the Father's will, his consecration to the welfare of mankind. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.