Sloth and the Workaholic

I suspect your view of sloth is only partially correct. 

We tend to think of sloth as the attitude of the couch potato - the man lying on the sofa with beer in one hand and the TV remote in the other. That is one side of sloth. But there is another. The man who is in his office by 6:30 every morning, and who works away until late evening may also be a sloth. Why? Because, as traditionally conceived, sloth is not just avoiding hard work, it is avoiding the hard work of love - of love for God and love for our neighbour. 

The couch potato certainly avoids the hard work of growing in love for God, through the means of grace, and love for neighbour - through investing himself in deep relationships. But the workaholic may also be avoiding these things. Work takes up all his or her hours, but not the work that’s worship, that loves God above all things, that prioritises relationship with Him and invests in those things - the means of grace - prayer, Bible reading, Christian community, Sunday worship, that helps that love grow. And he may also be avoiding the hard work of loving his wife and his children. Hours spent in the office are certainly easier than that.

So, while the sluggard of the Book of Proverbs presents us with a sobering (and at times very humorous) look at the slothful person, so does the Lord Jesus. It’s in his portrayal of the rich man, who worked hard, accumulating wealth, while ignoring God and those around him. His business grew bigger, with barns to match, but not his heart.

With the sluggard at one end of the spectrum of sloth and the workaholic at the other, where do you fall?