The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets. – Proverbs 22:13

“Get there before the other man. Work harder than the other man. Stay later than the other man.”

My pastor repeatedly taught me these three maxims many years ago. He repeated them to the point that when I suspected the subject of work may come up, I would start hearing these words in my mind before he said them. At the time I found it frustrating. But over the last 25 years I have come to appreciate them more and more.

The slothful man will pour all his energy into creating excuses to not work. He fears the imaginary dangers outside his door, but ignores the monster of his own laziness. While the result of work may put him in the path of danger, the fruit of his apathy will absolutely bring destruction.

People today, as always, make excuses to avoid hard work, or any work. Employers constantly bemoan the tendency of employees not arriving for work, or wasting time when they should be earning their wage. If many were as creative in their labour as they are in their effort to avoid work, they would be infinitely better off.

One problem is the perception that the priority of work is to earn. While we must work to live, there is a deeper necessity for work. God has created us to work. Adam were commanded to tend to the garden, not as a punishment, but as an act of obedience.

Another important motivation is personal responsibility. We must accept that society owes us nothing, and we are responsible for our own success.

As soon as I stop making excuses, recognise a divine purpose behind work, and take personal responsibility, then I will find a joy and degree of success otherwise impossible.

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