Do you know what the Book of Proverbs calls ‘someday’ people? A ‘Someday’ person is a sluggard. Isn’t sluggard a sweet term? What’s a sluggard? It’s a snail without a shell.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure With a Sluggard
Adventure With a Sluggard
(KJV) Luke 16:8, Proverbs 6:10-11, Proverbs 22:13, Proverbs 19:24, Proverbs 24:30-32, 1 Samuel 2:12, 1 Samuel 4:17-18, Colossians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 6:20, Luke 12:19, Luke 12:20, Luke 12:21
Luke 16:8 The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.
Of all the parables Jesus told, one causing the greatest confusion and just doesn’t seem right is this one in Luke 16. It’s about a very wealthy man who had a manager/steward of his wealth. Word came to the wealthy man the manager was mishandling the man’s possessions. The manager was called in, questioned, and, it seems given a termination notice. The manager feared for his future and thought, “I’m not strong enough for manual labor and ashamed to beg,” so he needed a place to fall back on when terminated. He became creative. He talked to each of his master’s debtors and discussed with them how much they owed and offered huge discounts reducing their large debts as much as 50% if they could pay right away. In return, he felt those debtors would provide him a place to land when his job ended. Of course, the master found out what the manager did. You would think he would be upset, right? However, Jesus threw a curve in the parable.
(KJV) Luke 16:8 And the lord COMMENDED the unjust steward, because he had done WISELY: for the children of this world are in their generation WISER than the children of light.
The wealthy man said he had to hand it to the manager. He realized he had a serious problem, processed his options, put them on the table, and then implemented his options. For his taking initiative, the overseer was commended.
People have talked about this parable over the millenniums and shook their heads not getting it. THE PARABLE IS NOT ABOUT ETHICS. IT’S ABOUT INITIATIVE. We think, “Well, isn’t it common sense when people have a problem to face it and figure out a solution?” You’re right in it’s common sense, but common sense often not done. I can show you many people whose lives are not working out well. They blame people, parents, God, spouse, and the government for their failure and situation, but never lift a finger to change their situation. There is no initiative.
Their thought process goes something like this. “If I stay in my present position things will just get better for me somehow, someway, someday. By my doing nothing, I will eventually drift into a better life and circumstances.” It’s the “SOMEDAY my ship will come in. SOMEDAY someone will offer me a fantastic opportunity. SOMEDAY the credit card companies will forgive my debts. SOMEDAY I will win the lottery. SOMEDAY my marriage will improve. SOMEDAY my children will stop getting into trouble. SOMEDAY my metabolism will increase and my fat will burn away. SOMEDAY I will get serious with God. SOMEDAY I will do something with my life.” You name it and they have a “SOMEDAY” for it.
It doesn’t work this way. The drift in life is always down, not up. The flow in life is toward defeat, not victory. IF YOU SIMPLY GO WITH THE FLOW, REALIZE THE FLOW GOES DOWNHILL.
Do you know what the Book of Proverbs calls “SOMEDAY” people? “Someday” people are “SLUGGARDS.” Isn’t “sluggard” a sweet term? What’s a sluggard? Here’s you a picture. Sweet looking thing, right? It’s a snail without a shell (no protection) insect never making much progress. You’ve heard the term “sluggish.” Well, there you go. Other than eating your plants and garden, being food for predators such asfrogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, rats, and even humans, there’s no purpose for a slug. It’s not going to be a butterfly.
Sadly, there are people who are sluggards and there are people on their way to being sluggards. It seems their only purpose in life is to eat from the gardens of others and be devoured by life’s predator – Whore Folly.
A person on their way to being a sluggard is a person who postpones responsibilities ought to be done right now and says, “I’ll do them later.” Procrastination is the first step in becoming a sluggard.
Proverbs 6:10-11 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
When there is work to be accomplished, but the person sleeps in and does nothing, this person is on the way to being a sluggard. I remember back when I was about 20, my dad asked me to take some luggage to the car. I said, “I’ll do it in a minute.” My grandmother Wallace was there all 5’1″ of her. She jumped up, gave me a stern look, “Delbert Ray, your father told you to do it and I mean you better do it now.” I jumped up and took the luggage out. Those type things aggravated and embarrassed me then, but Grandma Wallace and those who made me do it NOW were wise people. If a person ever falls into the pattern of putting off necessary responsibilities, IT’S A VERY DIFFICULT PATTERN TO BREAK. Those wise people in my life refused to allow me to go down the slimy sluggard path. However, I watch parents today allow their children to go the slimy way of the sluggard.
Another step in going down the path of a sluggard is making excuses. Say someone knows there is a tough challenge at work. Instead of firing up and getting motivated to move into the challenge with energy, this person finds an excuse not to go to work at all.
Proverbs 22:13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!” or, “I will be murdered in the streets!”
The excuses people make are as absurd as saying there’s a lion in the street and if I go out there, I’ll be killed. If you ever find you are making excuses for lack of performance or to keep from facing a challenge, shake yourself and say, “I’m heading in a direction that will wreck my life.” Don’t allow yourself, or those you influence, to make excuses. Tell them why you’re adamant about it, but don’t allow excuses. Some of you come up with lame excuses about church.
Proverbs 19:24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth!
(TMB) Proverbs 19:24 Some people dig a fork into the pie but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth.
This is a quality sluggard. Even the basics like hygiene, clean clothing, and proper eating disciplines are abandoned.
Proverbs 26:14 As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.
There is no motivation. The sluggard becomes so lazy they don’t even want to get out of bed. They roll around in bed.
Proverbs 24:30-32 I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.
This is a picture of a life in ruin and wasted. It uses a man’s vineyard as the metaphor. You pass by and look at lives of people who lack wisdom, seduced by Whore Folly. They’ve become sluggards. Their lives are a mess. It could be as fertile and productive as anyone’s could, but because the person had no initiative, their life is a mess FOR ANY WHO LOOK TO SEE.
So how does this apply to most of us? Most of us would say, “Well, this is certainly not me. Drive by my house and look at my lawn.” Or, “I certainly have no trouble feeding myself.” Or, “I don’t have time to lie in bed.” Most of us have too much to do rather than doing nothing. With us, the problem isn’t across the board “sluggardness.” It’s pocket and selective “sluggardness.” It’s the dad who sets records at work for production or sales, but fails to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of his wife and children. It’s the mom who pours herself out for her children, but neglects the needs of her husband. It’s the person who makes a lot of money, but spends more – big house, nice cars and clothes, a sluggard managing their finances. Some people take care of most things, but sluggards when it comes to making the Lord THE priority. They put the Lord on the convenient burner, which tremendously affects their children. It’s one thing to get lazy in an area only affecting you, but it’s another thing to be a sluggard in an area affecting your children. We who are self-motivated feel 9 out of 10 should be good enough. If we are sluggards only in one area, it won’t hurt. I mean what do you want, perfection? Well, yes if it affects others and especially our children.
I had a brother-in-law who was a great person. He loved his family and took care of most things pretty well, except for one thing – his health. He let his weight and cholesterol get away from him. His son found him outside where he fell over dead. He may have had nine out of ten, but the tenth area killed him.
Eli, a priest/preacher was the Prophet Samuel’s mentor, so obviously did pretty well at this. He was maybe an 8 out of 10 person. One was his weight and the other was disciplining his children.
1 Samuel 2:12 Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD.
Eli would talk to them about their disobedience, but a sluggard in initiating disciplines for it, so all their lives his children were bad news. God even warned Eli by sending him a prophet instructing Eli to deal with things, but Eli didn’t. The two rebellious children took the Ark of the Covenant into battle. They were killed, and the philistines took the Ark of the Covenant. When Eli heard, he fell dead.
1 Samuel 4:17-18 …Thousands of Israelite troops are dead on the battlefield. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were killed, too. And the Ark of God has been captured. …Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and very fat.
Eli probably was successful in 8 out of 10, but the areas where he was a sluggard killed him and greatly affected his children and many others.
Here’s what I want to do to challenge each of us today. I’m going to show you some pictures and as I do, I’ll make comments. The pictures represent your life. Your job will be to first, sincerely ask the Holy Spirit to convict you if this is an area of “sluggardness” for you, and then take initiative to correct it. If you are good in this area, then great, but if the Holy Spirit whispers to you, “It’s time to get out of bed on this one. It’s time to stop making excuses on this one. It’s time to fix up my vineyard on this one,” then be shrewd and take initiative.
First picture – family portrait – represents family – marriage, children, even relationships with friends. Perhaps somewhere in some important relationship, there was a bump, a bruise, a break leaving scar tissue. You know you should fix it, but you make excuses, stay in bed, and allow the weeds to grow. You’ve been a sluggard. You won’t write the letter, make the phone call, or take the initiative to work it out. The Spirit of God is telling you, “Take care of this.” I understand sometimes we take initiative but the other person doesn’t respond. It’s their problem. You do not be a sluggard.
Second picture – workplace – office and factory.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, AS WORKING FOR THE LORD, not for men,
Are you putting your heart into doing your best at work? Do you do it as if you are working for Jesus? Who’s your boss, your supervisor, or Jesus? How do you treat people? Are you demonstrating character? Do you point them to Christ if you get the opportunity? Do you engage in negative conversations, undermine the boss, or cause dissension? Maybe you are a stay at home mom, but you haven’t put your heart into keeping the house clean and clothes washed, etc. Do you feel the Holy Spirit on this one? How are you here?
Third picture – health, physical body – exercise and checkups.
1 Corinthians 6:20 you were bought at a price. Therefore HONOR GOD WITH YOUR BODY.
What does this mean? It means you eat healthy stuff, not garbage. It means you get some exercise. It means you rest your body. What’s the Spirit saying to you about this? Don’t make excuses. Don’t be a sluggard. Take initiative. My brother-in-law I spoke of should have had another 20 years, but was not diligent in one area. It’s a win, win deal. You feel better. You feel better about yourself. You have more energy. What’s the Spirit saying to you about your health? While I’m on it, we take our health for granted. We do realize every one of us will one day lose our health, right? Keep it as long as you can.
Fourth picture – money. We can be sluggards with money if we have a little or if we have a lot. We become a sluggard about the handling of it. Money matters and money tells your character. Money matters to your creditors. Money matters to God and the church for the purposes of God. When you show diligence and take initiative concerning your money, God blesses your life. He promises blessings concerning money he gives NO OTHER WAY. What’s the Spirit of God saying to you about your money management?
Fifth picture – praying over word and meditation with God. Jesus told a story/parable about a man who began experiencing great financial success. He was a wiz in the market place, but neglected his spiritual success. How successful are you spiritually? He knew he should be more diligent there, but decided rather to focus on wealth. He had an opportunity for the biggest deal of his life putting him over the top. After this deal, he would be able to say:
Luke 12:19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things LAID UP FOR MANY YEARS. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
He pulled the deal off, but…
Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ‘YOU FOOL! This very night YOUR LIFE WILL BE DEMANDED FROM YOU…”
Notice the wording. “…your life will be demanded from you.” What does this mean? He died wealthy over the top, but a sluggard in God.
Luke 12:21 “This is how it will be with ANYONE who stores up things for himself but is not RICH TOWARD GOD.”
Every human being is only allotted so much human energy or octane. We only have so much gas and then it runs out and then… The man in the story took his entire tank into one narrow vein – the making money market place. He was successful in one vein, but a sluggard in the vein of ultimate importance – SUCCESS WITH GOD. HE WENT INTO ETERNITY BROKE, poverty stricken, with nothing to face God. When his life was “demanded,” his bank account – soul – was empty. God said, “YOU FOOL!”
God took initiative and sent Jesus to interrupt each of our lives. He tries his best to keep us from being sluggards in all areas, but especially with our success with God. How successful are you with God? Are you a successful sluggard? I pray you will take initiative and change. Are you on the slimy path to being a sluggard? I pray you’ve heard today, take initiative, and change, but mostly, how successful are you in God. Don’t be a “SOMEDAY” fool.
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