Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sloth

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Sloth. No, not the cute little critter with either two or three toes. More like the innate desire we have not to bother to lift either two or three toes to do something. Meet Sammy the Sloth.

There are days I can be the laziest man on the face of the earth. I'm not proud of that, although on those days I doubt I'd put up a good argument to refute the charge. There are days when I'm content not doing anything, if at all possible.

The reason why Sammy the Sloth has come up is from Kelly's comment from my post, Doubt, Pride and Shame. I fully understand Kelly's point. Many days I live Kelly's point. But let's look at laziness, or sloth, and see what it really is.

My contention is that in it's basic form, laziness is simply selfishness. Think about it. If I'm too lazy to read my Bible or to pray, isn't it really that I don't want to read it? Or at least that I don't want to read it or to pray enough to put down the bon-bons and the remote to pick it up and get to it?

I know that there are days when I come home from a long day of work and I really don't feel like doing anything more. Last week was one of those weeks for me. I was filling in, taking on extra assignments at work while my boss was on vacation. By the time the whistle blew at the end of the day, my mind was fried and I had no desire to use it without significant sleep. Could I have done something I really wanted to do? Sure. There were things I would have gladly done, given the opportunity. However, most things last week didn't motivate me enough to get me going.

So too with the busy schedule excuse. I hear ya', soccer moms and little league dads. I'm with you, not only in spirit, but also in body. Shoot, we're all pretty busy little beavers these days. Society tells us we should be, and our kids should be, so that's what we do. The little squares on the calendar fill up and each day becomes a sort of challenge to see how we can manage to get everything accomplished. So who can take time out for prayer? Being a busy little beaver leads to being a lazy little sloth.

But from where I sit (and it's not far from where you're sitting), our business is a matter of choice also. And it comes back to self. We make committments or fill in schedules with things we want to do (or think we should do) and then wear ourselves out for the things we are called to do. So when we collapse on the sofa after a long day of picking up kids, dropping off dry cleaning, picking up groceries and dropping off projects we are left with our sloth. Not that we are too lazy to pray, but that we've chosen other alternatives -- alternatives which make us happier, or which make us more impressive to the people we know. Or as Kelly put it, "I make time for all the other things in my life that are important, don't I?" Yup. That we do.

So I really can't accept laziness as an excuse or a reason why we don't pray. Because laziness comes back to selfishness, and selfishness comes back to pride. We don't find ourselves too lazy to pray. We find ourselves to have chosen things that give us satisfaction in other areas, then use our own pride as an excuse for ignoring the One who gave us life, and gives us eternal life.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

Hard not to be a sloth in this heat!

julie said...

I had never considered laziness a form of pride, but your position makes sense. Good post

Kelly said...

Wow. You hit the nail on the head, Ed. Laziness is selfishness -- albiet dressed up in nicer clothes to make it appear more acceptable. (I can't tell you how many friends will say, in half-jest, "I don't know. I guess I'm just lazy." Somehow, I can't picture them saying, "I don't know. I guess I'm just selfish." That's too stinging.)

And in many ways, I think that's what I was trying to say in my original comment. I long to pray (and I'm so thankful that God is creating a hunger in me to spend secret, quiet, meaningful time with Him). But much of the time, I'm more fixated on what makes me happy than what makes God happy. After all, I don't miss a day without reading my favorite blogs. But I've rarely had consistency with God during my 34 years on this planet.

Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing your insight. It's helped me define the problem and get to its root. And as we all know, that's half the solution.