Father, open my eyes to see my life clearly today, so that I can honor You in all I do.
Read Proverbs 6:1–19
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
2 you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth.
3 So do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—
and give your neighbor no rest!
4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
12 A troublemaker and a villain,
who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13 who winks maliciously with his eye,
signals with his feet
and motions with his fingers,
14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
he always stirs up conflict.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPrepare to pay careful attention to your life today.
This passage brings together three traps for the unwitting: offering unlimited liability to an acquaintance, the vice of sloth and the activities of the mischief-maker. All three arise from a failure to be sufficiently alert to the hard work of consistent discipleship. Many a reputation has been sullied by too close an identity with a villain, lacking the awareness to see through their superficial charm. Some Christians are too naïve about the ways in which others deliberately make mischief to sow discord (12–14), and even if the writer of Proverbs sees their sudden downfall as the outcome (15), the collateral damage can be immense.
The heart of those two dangers is an inability or unwillingness to act swiftly and vigorously—in other words, the sin of sloth. In a society where next year’s table is stocked by this year’s endeavor, hard work must be consistent, as any wise farmer knows. The ants that plague my patio are a good reminder of the subtle dangers of excessive relaxation! Recent research has even suggested that if you want to remain healthy into your nineties and beyond, keep working beyond your 80th birthday—not necessarily as you did when you were younger, but keep active. The same is true of our discipleship—there’s no retirement so far as that is concerned.
Is there an area of Christian service in which you have become too comfortable to put out continued effort? Renew your zeal today!
Lord, save me from laziness, and keep me active for You.