Friday, December 11, 2009


The Bible has a lot to say about laziness. Contrast the attitudes of the idle man in Luke 12 to Phinehas in Numbers 25:

"and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' 18And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'"

"When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand 8and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. 9Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand. 10And the LORD said to Moses, 11"Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'"

The first passage is important because it labels the cause of laziness: we are thinking about ourselves. The second passage, while it does not address laziness directly, shows us the opposite of thinking about ourselves: putting the Lord above ourselves and fixing our eyes on Him. In fact, the passage is labeled "The Zeal of Phinehas" in the ESV version.

If laziness is a form of self-centeredness, zeal for the God must be a proclamation of His worthiness. Notice that Phinehas was not angry for his own sake, or Israel's. (Also, notice that he was angry.) He is jealous for God's name to be praised in the camp. Phinehas ends up turning God's holy wrath away from Israel and preventing the Lord from consuming them.

We can also see that God rewards zeal and despises laziness through the reward and punishment each man gets. God kills the rich man during the night. He makes a covenant with Phinehas and gives him and his descendants perpetual priesthood.

Laziness is not God-honoring. In contrast, zeal for the Lord is a virtue. It is even prophesied about Jesus: "Zeal for your house will consume me,". Our lives are clearly too short to spend being lazy.

No comments:

Post a Comment