Friday, April 14, 2017
The Vision (4.14.17): By much slothfulness the building decayeth
Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Ecclesiastes 10:16-20.
By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through (Ecclesiastes 10:18).
Here Solomon warns the godly and wise man against slothfulness. The warning comes by analogy to the maintenance of a home. Every home owner knows that to keep that house in good order, he must exercise regular maintenance. Air and water filters have to be cleaned, the lawn has to be mowed, rooms have to be painted, sinks have to be scrubbed, carpets have to be cleaned. If some regular maintenance and cleaning is not done, the building will fall into disrepair and the roof will collapse.
I can have a reminder of this any day by just looking out my back door to the neighboring lot where at one time there stood what was, no doubt, a well-maintained house and out-building. But years ago it was abandoned and has now gone into disarray.
The second law of thermodynamics or the law of entropy says that the inevitable and natural tendency of all things is to go from order to disorder.
Solomon warns that if a man gives in to slothfulness and he is not ever vigilant, then that which has been given to his stewardship will be destroyed.
This is a constant theme in the Proverbs:
Proverbs 23: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Proverbs 24:30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. 32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. 33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
In context, the first application of this is to rulers, those given the stewardship of government in some sphere (see 10:16-17). If you are not diligent and if you succumb to laziness, you will fail in your stewardship and destroy what has been given to you.
The application, however, is wider. Currid observes: “This is true of all aspects of our lives: our families, our businesses, our appearance, our spiritual lives, and so forth” (Ecclesiastes, p. 133).
Charles Bridges makes similar application:
Want of family discipline issues in the same result. When evils, apparently trifling, are allowed, the tendency to decay become more and more visible.
Public institutions and laws—however permanent they seem to be—need continual and active review in order to their amendment.
There is also intellectual slothtfulness much to be resisted, unless one would allow palsy of every faculty (Ecclesiastes, p. 255).
He cites one old author who called idleness “the nursery of sins” and adds:
Idleness of hands is often connected with worldliness of heart (p. 256).
Never expect spiritual wealth, while indulging carnal sloth (p. 257).
Let us be diligent in the stewardship of our lives to the glory of God and the blessing of man.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle