Don’t Be Lazy

“In regard to what you ought to be doing, don’t be lazy” (Romans 12:11). This is directed against weariness in well-doing (Gal. 6:9). It is a real problem when trying to live the Christian life for any length of time. It is easy to get discouraged. It is hard to keep on steadily. The King James Version says, “Not slothful in business.” To most people business suggests commercial dealings only, which is why newer versions drop that word. But it is helpful to think of it in this way.

Consider the business of being a Christian. How can anyone take on the most important business of all, the business of being a follower of Jesus Christ, and do it in a passive, apathetic, part-time, or slovenly manner? What we should do is follow Jesus Christ with all our hearts, minds and with all the energy we can muster. We should work at being Christians. Robert Candlish writes about this wisely: “Your sanctification must be made a matter of business. It must be cared for and prosecuted in a business-like way; not indolently and slothfully, as if it were a process that might be left to itself, but industriously, diligently, with regularity and punctuality, as you would manage a worldly concern, on the common principles of worldly energy and worldly care and worldly zeal.”

Also, think about the business of being a father or mother as a Christian. Raising a family takes work. The love of Christ demands that this too be done steadily and without being lazy. Children will not raise themselves in godliness. Left to themselves they will grow up like an untended garden, full of weeds and other wild things. It takes work to raise children well.

Again, consider the work of the local church. The work of the church should be done in the best possible way we know how. After all, if it is done well, the lives we touch will continue long after we are gone, and our businesses and homes have passed to other hands.

Finally, think about the business of earning a living. Christians should excel in how they work. Paul told the Colossians, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col. 3:23–24). The last sentence means that love for Christ should prod us to work both well and hard in everything.

The life of a Christian is to rise above mediocrity. Paul was not a man of slothfulness. We see his values when he left all that he counted of value at one time and now call that rubbish (Phil. 3:1-8). He will go on to say, “I press toward the mark…” The word “press” speaks of urgency. It describes intensity. Mediocrity, at best, talks about things that are on the level of no real importance. Press is a word for agony, something strenuous. Press is the kind of effort that expended beyond the comfortable. Athletes talk about giving 110%. That is, they give everything they have and more. They hold nothing back, even when it hurts.

How do we live in this marathon race of faith? Never grow old and never grow weary in well-doing. Always renew the mind. Do all to the glory of God and press on! Sometimes it simply requires our will to grow. It will not always be easy!

Rickie Jenkins