Do you want to get more done? Would you like to achieve more in your day? Would you like to finish each day with a deep sense of fulfilment for your day’s efforts? I would! If you do as well, then we will both have to face one of the biggest challenges many of us will ever face. This challenge is often difficult to confront because it is so cleverly disguised. The biggest challenge that many of us will face (and embarrassingly, I speak from personal experience and five decades of observation) is how we can confront and overcome this. One of the reasons this is so difficult to deal with is due to its tricky use of disguises. It more often than not disguises itself as busyness. I am referring to laziness.
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Some of the busiest people I know are also the laziest. Laziness is often confused with idleness. Of course, it can be. But from my perspective, this is its rarest form. The laziness I am blighted with masquerades itself as highly active busyness. And although this will probably upset my fellow lazyites, one of the reasons we lazyites are so prone to laziness is that we rarely do nothing. Naturally, this revelation will confuse those outsiders who presume that laziness always means doing nothing. This is why some of the laziest people I’ve ever known have also been some of the busiest.
¶ Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.
Dictionaries are wonderful for learning how to spell words, but they are not always similarly helpful for defining words. Websters’ Dictionary defines “lazy” as:
unwilling to work or use energy; characterized by lack of effort or activity.
But (and maybe it was because Noah Webster was one of the hardest working and most diligent men who have ever lived) his definition of lazy only encompassed the above definition. If Dr. Noah Webster had ever met me, he would have had to add to his definition the following:
Laziness is not doing what should be done.
I have found that when I have to do something that I don’t want to do, I yield too easily to the temptation to doing those things that really could wait but make me look too busy to do the very thing I should have been doing.
This is why the most effective people are often those who have come to know they are extremely susceptible to laziness and have come to resist the temptation to regard busyness as an excuse for it. Thus, diligence is acting on a commitment to do what should be done – even when we don’t want to do it or even feel like doing it. And here’s the good news for people like me, and all my fellow lazyites-
for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Sometimes I’m afraid to do what I should do. Sometimes I feel inadequate to do what I should do. Sometimes I don’t like to admit that I don’t know how to do what I should do. But as I behold Christ I see the answer (2Cor. 3:18). Jesus calls me to take up my cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). He calls me to do what I should do and promises to give me the strength and assistance to do it (1Peter 4:10-11). As I have prayed for God’s help in these moments of facing up to the should, I have noticed that God’s answer to my cry for help is to send people whom He has gifted and anointed to fill my lack – just as He uses me to fill up their lack in different ways.
You should commit to the House of God every Sunday. Don’t let busyness tell you otherwise. You should commit to loving those God places in your life. Don’t let busyness keep you from spending time with those you love. You should strive to grow as a follower of Christ by deepening your understanding of God’s Word, enriching your prayer time, and strengthening your fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ. You shouldn’t rush off all the time.
For all Noah Webster’s brilliance and his unparalleled command of language, I’m both amazed and not surprised that he didn’t really have a good understanding of just how cunning laziness can be. But fortunately for me and lazyite comrades, Jesus Christ most certainly does understand it and offers the power to overcome it. In fact, His entire mission is dependent upon it.