Sunday, September 13, 2009

soul food: beware the sluggard

This past Spring, I started to record on my blog some of the notes that I took during our weekly church services. It's important to interject here that the "notes" that I take are actually recorded on an outline that is handed out within the program. So please don't be fooled in to thinking that I am so efficient that I am capable of jotting down everything from the service.

Anyway - I began recording these services, on my blog, partly because I wanted to preserve the message that I heard and partly because I wanted to share the message that I heard. All of the previous posts that I wrote from our church services are captured under my "Soul Food" label. With that, I hope that the message within this post helps to feed your soul.

Do you know where you are going in your life?

Do you know what it takes to get there?

If you aren't putting energy in to things that are important to you - they will deteriorate.

Your body.

Your relationships.

Your home.

Your career.

(Note: As I'm typing this, I can see out of the corner of my eye no less than four piles of laundry patiently waiting for me in baskets.)

Dreams die.

Hope fades.

We become accustomed to mediocrity.

You are responsible for now and forward.

Do not make excuses.

Maybe too much is going on in your life and you need to focus.

Maybe you need to create a To Do List, a Not To Do List, and a STOP Doing List.

What is something that you want to do?

What is something that you shouldn't do?

What is something that you should STOP doing?

If we are not aware of the condition of our life, it WILL deteriorate.

We will get turned inward and we will lose track of our greater mission. If we focus on things that don't really matter - soon, those non-important things become paramount to our existence.

Everything has a tendency to deteriorate.

The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4)

1. Be aware of ENTROPY. (Oh, I know all about entropy.)
  • Be aware of: a tendency towards superficiality, (don't allow stuff that doesn't matter to get under your skin. So what if your husband brought home Cheerios as opposed to Special K, even though you specifically told him to bring home Special K and not the cereal in the yellow box, but all he heard was "cereal in the yellow box"?)
  • Be aware of: unresolved tension in key relationships, (don't carry around anger. So what if your mother said that your children are a wonderful reflection of your husband? You are the one that picked your husband - so he must be a wonderful reflection of you.)
  • Be aware of: no time for celebration, (don't allow your chores to get in the way of having fun. When is the last time that you had a vacation? When is the last time that you opted for playing with your children over cleaning the dishes?)
  • Be aware of: confusion of heroes and celebrities, (I'm really hooked on watching "24" through Netflix. Although he does play one awesome bad ass on TV, Jack Bauer is a celebrity, not a hero. But I could be wrong.)
  • Be aware of: a loss of gratitude and a vague sense of guilt. (Are you spending too much time working on things like, say a blog - and not paying enough attention to your wonderful spouse? Does it annoy you when they ask what kind of ice cream you want and you feel like THEY SHOULD KNOW? And then you feel badly about being a grouch? Because COME ON. They brought you ICE CREAM.)
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. (Proverbs 27:23-24)

2. Be aware of OPPORTUNITY.

Beware of negligence and laziness.

Some people spend so much time thinking about what they want to do - trying to figure out how to do it - but in reality, they never actually move towards anything. Remember: there are seasons for opportunity, but those opportunities may not exist forever.

I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw... (Proverbs 24:30-32)

3. Be aware of RESPONSIBILITY.

Embrace the reality of your life - and accept the life that you are in.

Since the kids have given up their afternoon nap, my life has become a lot more challenging. Just because they have outgrown sleeping in the middle of the day - that does not mean that they have outgrown getting in to trouble at every spare moment. I still have the same number of things to do. But now that we are napless, I have two less hours, each day, to do them. As a result, I've had to shift my responsibilities in order to target those that are the most important. For instance:

1) Our children's safety is of utmost importance.

2) Protecting a hidden stash of chocolate chip cookies in my pajama drawer is a close second. Those kids have noses like HOUNDS.

Focus on what you have and do it well.

He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. (Proverbs 12:11)

4. Be aware of EXCUSES.

I'll get in shape. One day.

I'll get my finances in order. One day.

I'll organize my house and closets. One day.

I'll discipline my children. One day.

I'll make amends with people who I've crossed. One day.

I'll work on my spirituality. One day.

I want to be generous, and become a better person, but I have to get through this (insert distraction here) first.

If not now ... when?

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - and poverty will come on you like a bandit... (Proverbs 6:9-11)

Don't be lazy and keep saying, "There's a lion outside!" (Proverbs 26:13)

As a turn turns on it's hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. (Proverbs 26:14)


There are selective things in our own life that we just can't get around to. We need to, but we just won't allow the time for it to happen. We lack motivation and drive.

The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly.
(Proverbs 26:16)

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)

6. Be aware that I may need to KICK MY OWN BUTT.

Entropy does exist. But it doesn't have to exist in your life.

So what exactly are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for someone to motivate you?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. (Colossians 3:23)

What does it take to do the right thing? Too often it happens that we don't resolve issues so we don't engage our lives to the maximum.

If you are seeking to forgive someone - DO IT.

If you are seeking to do something you've consistently put off - DO IT.

If you are seeking to improve your life in better ways - DO IT.

If you are seeking to donate to the breast cancer 3-Day walk - DO IT.

Or, you can wait until our giveaways start ... later this week.

Who is excited?


I AM!!


  1. Thank you. Exactly what I needed to read as I've had a lazy "just do what I can to survive" mode going on. I actually wrote down "You are responsible for now and forward...Do not make excuses" on a notecard and placed it here on my desk. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. oh my goodness!! What a sermon that must have been! There was sooo much food for thought in your notes--excellent verses, also. Does your church broadcast the sermons or make tapes available. I would love to hear this guy! If you have a website, and feel at liberty to do so, how about the URL on my email? I was challenged just reading your notes!!

  3. I love your blog though I am a closet reader who hasn't commented before. I had to leave a comment on this post, it really touched me and I felt I should let you know. Thank you for this post and keep up the good work with everything you do.

  4. This is a wonderful post... and so something I needed to read and apply to my own life right now. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hey Jen! Thanks for a great sermon reminder. As a med student I'm constantly in need of kicking myself in the butt. Constantly in need of more motivation and less entropy. I appreciated the verses to keep me going.

  6. Speaking of sluggards, Jerry-the-Drunk was over last night and he swears to God he bought into an oil exploration company for $900. He swears that 3 days after he bought it, it struck oil. Now they just want him to send another $1400 to build the well. He showed me all this really important geological papers last night proving he had struck oil.

    Have you ever heard of a company called Bierbele.cough.cough or something like that? In

    I smell pyramid scheme.

  7. Michele - I don't know much about exploration, but Jerry striking oil three days after he bought the stake, sounds a little, COINCIDENTAL. Or maybe, too good to be true.

    How did they find this oil? Were the prospectors out one day, "Shooting at some food and up through the ground came a bubbling crude??"

    I've got a few friends who are in production. Maybe they can help. If you give Jerry my e-mail address w/ some of the GENERAL information he has, I'll see what they're recommendations would be.

  8. Doesn't that 1st picture of your baby toddler Henry just make you wonder what he is thinking (Other that appplesss of course)?

  9. (Slapping my forehead) Thanks I needed that!
    This is going into my journal...
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  10. This was EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Thanks so much for sharing it!