“The lazy man will not plow because of winter;
He will beg during harvest and have nothing.”
What do you think of a lazy man? Me too.
Laziness really troubles me deep down. It is hard for me to have any manner of respect for the person who simply will not work: man, woman, child.
The Proverb writer points out the lazy man will have a problem. He will not get out and “plow because of winter;” the conditions are not just right. When it comes time to reap the benefits of hard labor, he will get none. He may even go to his neighbors seeking help, but they will extend none. He is starving and no compassion is extended.
Is this right?
Yes. The Bible teaches that if a man “will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thes. 3:10). What does this mean? He should be allowed to starve to death. Shocking? It shouldn’t be.
This does not apply to the person who cannot work (age, infirmity, illness, etc.). It does not apply to one who has repented of his laziness and is now willing to work. Rather, the point is the person who can work, but will not, does not have the right to expect others to care for him. The pain and suffering he experiences due to lack of food, clothing, shelter, ought to prod him to change his ways. It does not do a sinner, in this case the lazy man, any good to coddle him in his sin. Tough love is in order.
Is there another application to this Proverb?
What about the one who is spiritually lazy? The person who has little interest or motivation spiritually is not to be coddled.
For example, the man who will not read his Bible, pray to God, or attend services, either all together or some combination thereof, does not deserve our pity. He knows better, he just won’t do it. Do we feel sorry for him and his problems with his wife (his problems not hers)? Do we tell him we understand and wish he was not having so many difficulties in life? Or, do we rebuke him for his laziness and tell him to stop sinning by being luke warm (cf. Rev. 3:16, 17)?
For the indifferent man or woman, there is coming a time when they will “beg for bread.” If they truly turn from their sinfulness and apply themselves to growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, then we need to help them (Gal. 6:1, 2). We would even give the benefit of the doubt and strive to help them. However, if there is no repentance, there can be no forgiveness. If they intend on remaining in their laziness, then it is a waste of time to deal with them.
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matt. 7:6).
For the spiritually lethargic, the time to sow and harvest will come to an end. When the Lord returns their true condition will be known by one and all. They will stand before the Judge of the universe and “beg for bread,” but receive none. Remember what Jesus told us about the “wicked and lazy servant”? “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30). This man was given an opportunity to serve the Lord but was too lazy to take advantage of it. He said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed” (Matt. 25:24). Yet, he was “afraid” (Matt. 25:25). Again, His Master said he was “wicked and lazy,” and during the reckoning showed no mercy to this man.
Let us not waste our opportunities. Get to the work, even though it is “winter.” If we do not, there will be no harvest for us, no rejoicing in the fruit of our labor, no “bread of life.”