We need to combat sloth with devotion and attentiveness.
Of all the deadly sins, surely sloth is the lightweight. I mean, sloth? Seriously—a deadly sin? When it comes to the other six, we get it. We know pride goes before a fall. We know anger too often leads to violence. We know lust destroys from the inside out, that envy put Jesus on the cross. We even get that gluttony can lead to premature death. But seriously, has anyone ever died from taking it easy? I'm pretty sure the coroner's report never reads: "Cause of death: too many naps." Sloth may not get you to the top of the ladder, but is that so bad?
That's not to mention the fact that Americans are probably the most hyper-active people on the planet. We literally run on Dunkin' Donuts, Red Bull, or Adderall. We work longer hours and take fewer vacations than most of the industrialized world. When we're not on the job, we're making home improvements, driving the kids someplace, or working out at the gym. Walk into any health club at 7:00 a.m. on a Monday morning, and you'd be hard-pressed to say that Americans are slothful.
Sloth seems to be the least deadly, and the least relevant, of all the seven deadly sins. Yet we all procrastinate. We daydream. We run late for appointments—or miss them entirely. We fritter away whole evenings in front of the TV. We spend too much time on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever our web addiction happens to be. We intend for things to happen that we never actually start. We start things that we never actually finish. We end up neglecting God or people because of our laziness or distraction.
Maybe that's why the Bible takes sloth so seriously. "How long will you lie there, you sluggard? / When will you get ...
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Bryan Wilkerson is pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.