In Ecclesiastes 10:18 it says, “Through the sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.”
Throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, many have had inactivity imposed on them and, as a result, many have become used to it to the point that it has changed them. They have been forced to work from home, are limited on where they can go and who they might see, have sheltered themselves from physical contact and have gotten too used to screens as a replacement for the real thing. As a result, their once vibrant activity has been turned into idleness.
We see it in our churches also. Attendance is down, giving is suffering and ministry has been at a standstill for fear of spreading the virus. Bible studies are more apt to be done apart from one another over media, even worship services are streamed live so that people are not forced to attend.
This has made life hard for many because, contrary to how we may feel much of the time, we were not created to be people of idleness. Our God created us to be social creatures who find energy and joy in existence and who take pleasure in sharing experiences with others. We are to be people of community who serve each other with love.
Through the sloth the roof sinks in because no one is doing anything to keep it in good repair, through insolence the house leaks because no one cares enough to do what is necessary to seal it. This can happen in our homes and in our ministry.
The devil longs for idleness because he knows that “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15). If we’re already allowing ourselves to fall into idleness in our worldly lives he knows it’s only natural that we will fall into idleness in our spiritual lives as well.
As always, God has a plan for you to save you from the idleness that has become so prevalent in many lives. First we go to 2 Thessalonians 3:6, “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”
Sometimes our actions are only as good as the company we keep. Resist those who would promote your spiritual idleness and cling to others who will encourage you in your journey through ministry. Find your pride in the fact that you walk with God during every step. Follow His ways and repel against those who would try and convince you to be content in your worldliness.
For encouragement we also go to Ephesians 4:28, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
With many things there is an easy way and a way that, though it may be harder, can be much more satisfying. In times like the ones were living through, it’s easy to get lost in the idleness. We may not steal, but we still do our best to avoid labor. If you find you have more than enough down time, use some of that time to help your neighbor or work on your garden or volunteer with a charity. Avoid the “tube” when possible and be productive in your community.
Idleness is the devil’s workshop. Don’t allow him to influence you through a slothful existence. Get active both in your community and in your church. Take joy in your ability to make a difference in someone else’s life. Convince yourself that you can do more with your time to glorify your God. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for always being there when we need you. In our idleness fill us with a sense of purpose and duty. Lead us to serve others and keep the devil at bay with no opportunity to attack us through our indolence. Amen.