The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:13)
There are times when we read our bibles and come to a verse or passage that just doesn’t make any common sense. This verse in Proverbs could fall into that category. You could read this verse and think to yourself, “What does this have to do with me?” Or, “I don’t even live near any lions, how does this apply to my life?” Maybe you’ll think, “Is this cultural or a time period thing and that is why I don’t understand it?” How many of us would just read this verse, think it’s weird and then keep reading?
Even though the temptation is there to just glaze over this verse, it is an important one for all of us. Once the meaning of the verse is understood, it may surprise you just how applicable it is! So let us break this down. Some person is saying that there is a lion outside and they are concerned for their life. And who wouldn’t be? If a lion was outside your door would you go outside to pet it? I think not. So on the surface it appears that this person has a legitimate reason to stay in their home. But there is something the bible tells us about this person that we cannot overlook. This person is a “sluggard”. This is someone who is habitually lazy. Someone who does not want to take any personal responsibility for themselves. A sluggard is mentioned 14 times in the book of Proverbs. Not once is a sluggard ever painted in a positive light. He or she is always condemned in the Proverbs. The sluggard is never doing anything commendable.
Now with this background on the person in our verse, let us reevaluate the meaning here. Ever know someone that doesn’t do anything for a pretty poor excuse? No matter what it is they have a reason to not do it. Even though it may seem silly to you, they are convinced that it is legitimate reason. They just can’t get married right now in this period of their life. They have no choice but to go into debt. There is something going on ,on Sundays so they can’t go to church. They are too busy for their family right now, but later it will be better, etc. This is what the bible is illustrating at a comical level. Yes the bible does portray comedy! This person is so lazy that they are not going out of the house just in case a lion happens to be there. Now that seems pretty ridiculous, right? Yet, let us now look to the application here for our own lives.
This verse is telling us we can convince ourselves to not do something for what appears to be a good reason. When in reality it is just pure laziness. Your “good reason” is just as sensible as a lion being outside to eat you! Hard to believe that about your reasons for not doing something, isn’t it? Remember, when I asked earlier if you knew people who have some pretty lame excuses for not doing something, notice how you didn’t think of yourself? Why? Well because our reasons are legitimate, right? They aren’t excuses, they are really good reasons. They aren’t ridiculous but reasonable. Is that really true though? Every single reason? If you think that is true, then you are not only lazy at times but prideful! The bible just taught us that we can deceive ourselves into thinking they are good reasons but that is not the truth. Things always sound better in our mind. Our heart is very good at making us believe something is true when it really isn’t. Are there areas in your life where you are being lazy? Do you not do certain things in your life and excuse them away with what you think are good reasons? Prayer? Reading your bible? Church attendance? Giving? Continued sin in your life? Serving with your spiritual gifts? Personal time with your spouse or children? Pray to the Holy Spirit to convict you of any area in your life you may be lazy. We may not realize how lazy we are because we have convinced ourselves for whatever reason to not do it. And before you think that you are not that person, just remember that the sluggard didn’t think the lion being outside was ridiculous.