From sloth to passion
It has been said that if you aim for nothing you might just hit it. Set low expectations and be confident of meeting them. Hardly a message of ‘going for it’. I can’t imagine Nike selling quite as many trainers if their logo had the strapline ‘Just … whatever’.
Apathy and indifference can creep up on us all at times. The DIY job that really does need doing (leaking shower, dodgy light fitting, broken fence) but somehow never quite gets anywhere near the top of our ‘to do’ list. Or the friend we know we should contact as they’re going through a tough time and would value time with a mate, only this mate can’t rustle up the drive to pick up the phone.
When someone put together the list of seven deadly sins, we can see a place for anger, pride and lust without much argument. We get how destructive these can be: to ourselves, to our relationships, to our health, to our close walk with God. Let them develop and sooner or later they could let rip, a land mine waiting for the right pressure.
But sloth seems, I guess, tame? Isn’t sloth just a step on from taking it easy, rightly reducing stress levels, making time to chill out?
If it were, that would be fine. We all need R&R, time to de-stress and look after our mind and body, learning to strike a good work-rest-play balance. But sloth is not that.
Sloth makes it into the seven deadly sins for its capacity to harden our heart to the needs of others, how it can dull our conscience so we don’t recognise the good that we can or should do. Sloth can lead us down a path to being emotionally detached from those nearest to us, our spouse or kids or friends, because sloth kills our rightful caring connections as we become indifferent. It’s a deadly sin for relationships, potentially deadly in physical ways too if it makes us indifferent to our diet, exercise, and bodily health. This is more than being lazy or chilled, sloth is about looking after number 1, and little else.
The tragedy goes deeper still. When we fail to care, to serve, to get alongside others, to bear their burdens and listen to their worries, to share in a work of real effort in a team – through slothful indifference – others miss out but so do we! Where is the encouragement, comfort, wisdom, laughter, joy that we could have had. Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age films is either annoying or funny; true slothful behaviour is no laughing matter.
The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.Proverbs 13:4
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.Romans 12:11
Where are the opportunities in front of us to give ourselves away, to expend effort to serve those nearest to us, to be a blessing without thought of reward, to honour God through hard work even if no-one notices? Our spiritual character grows and others reap the benefit too when we seek to get rid of sloth and raise our game of service, passion, drive for the sake of others.
Do this, grow like this, and we too might enjoy that final reward: “well done, good and faithful servant.” Now that is a reward worth looking forward to.
Bomb Disposal is Available on Amazon