Idleness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cynthia Brewer   
Monday, 13 February 2012 20:02

A dear friend gave me a lovely wall plaque with a quotation from Proverbs 31:27-28 on it:


She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:


I read those words often, and remind myself not to “eat the bread of idleness.” I know many homemakers despise the stereotypical image of a housewife sitting on the couch watching soap operas and eating bonbons all day. The modern version of that stereotype might be a housewife browsing facebook and drinking Diet Coke all day! We do not like these stereotypes, but the truth is that they have developed for a reason. There are women who are lazy and slothful. They do not manage their time wisely, and they are not the industrious, productive women that Proverbs 31 describes. There is certainly a time for relaxing, but it should be because we have worked hard and need to rest!


Even if we think we are busy, it would benefit us all to evaluate ourselves occasionally and make sure we are not falling into the trap of idleness. Satan is pleased if he can get Christians to slack off, because if we are being lazy, it is very unlikely that we are truly being servants of God. In fact, if we are being lazy, we are more likely to become involved in sin. That is why Paul wrote that young widows should marry:


And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan (1 Timothy 5:13-15).


Think about your home, your family, and your spiritual growth. Is your blog up to date, but you have not studied for Bible class? Do you know all your friends’ status updates on facebook, but your husband can’t find clean socks? Have you read every magazine that has come, but you scrounge around late Saturday night to prepare to teach the children’s Bible class? Have you seen every episode of your favorite television shows, but you have not had a meaningful conversation with your children all week?


It can be tempting to be idle at times. We may not feel motivated to do anything. We may feel tired. We may be so overwhelmed with all that needs to be done, that we just do not know where to start. There are many reasons that we may fall into laziness, but we must pull ourselves up and get going again!


In order to avoid idleness, we need to manage our time wisely. Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5 speak of “redeeming the time.” Time is not something to be wasted and piddled away. Once it is gone, it is gone. If we have not used it well, we cannot get it back! Instead of idling my time away, as a homemaker I need to figure out how and when to get many tasks accomplished. We must be self-disciplined and develop ways to manage time. It may help to make daily or weekly schedules, make lists, set time limits for breaks throughout the day—whatever you find that works to keep you going on the right track. Thinking about the way you use your time and the value of time will help you accomplish much more.


The other aspect of avoiding idleness is having plenty of things to keep us busy. However, we do not need to think in terms of just being busy, but in terms of being productive. There are people who could keep themselves busy surfing the internet or reading novels all day, but is that really what a godly woman is to be busy doing? We should easily be able to stay busy with housekeeping, caring for our families, teaching our children, serving others, studying the Bible, and so on.


In fact, it is God’s intention that we stay busy with good works: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Romans 6:13 says, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” God wants us to be His instruments to accomplish His work here on earth! Is His will being accomplished if His instruments are idle? We are also called slaves of righteousness and slaves of God later in that chapter. Is our Master pleased with slaves who are idle?


We must not let worldly cares and distractions keep us from focusing on our work. Whatever stage of life you are in, you have a place in God’s kingdom as a worker, and you have a responsibility to be industrious. Redeem the time you have, and do not “eat the bread of idleness.” Your God and your family deserve better than that!

Last Updated on Monday, 13 February 2012 20:05


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This is the personal page of Kris Brewer, who currently works with the Gallatin Valley church of Christ in Bozeman, Montana.

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