The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
Lazy people always have excuses! They see difficulty in any job. They arrogantly reject good explanations of successful men that a task can be done (Pr 26:16). They are lazy, and they use their conceited minds to convince themselves and others to avoid the work.
Challenges are opportunities! They mean the lazy will not be competing, so there is more for you. They mean the wages or profit will be more. They mean the honor for finishing will be higher. They mean the skill and experience acquired will be greater. Consider it!
Difficulties are challenges to the diligent, but excuses to the slothful. Adversity means a little more effort to the diligent, but it quickly defeats the slothful. Any difficulty is enough for him to cancel his plans and quit, for the lion in the streets might slay him!
He wants the good things of life, but his hands refuse to labor (Pr 19:24; 21:25), so he makes up ridiculous excuses to justify himself. He prefers his bed or toys (Pr 6:9-10). He dreads the thought of exertion, persistence, or pain. Though he and all wise men know that lions prefer the hills and woods, he makes up preposterous pretenses to avoid work.
These are the words of a lazy person. He knows the city streets are not this bad, but he uses his wild excuse to justify himself to others. The excuses lazy people use are Legion. As long as sluggards exist, lions and other dangerous beasts will roam cities and threaten lives! Such excuses are so common, the LORD left a twin for this proverb (Pr 26:13)!
Seven successful men might prove there is no lion, but a man that hates work will still argue that there is danger (Pr 26:16). He has convinced himself of difficulty in order to keep from making an effort; the sound reasoning of diligent men is easily brushed aside! Lazy men can explain away their responsibilities with a thousand ridiculous excuses.
His lazy lie may be self-fulfilling, for the slothful have a rough time with easy projects (Pr 15:19). The more a slothful man considers the difficulty of a job, the more difficult it will be. His half-hearted efforts make anthills seem like mountains! He claims fear of the lion, but forgets that men are the masters of lions and may hunt them for mere sport.
It has been said, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. These words did not originate with a lazy man, for tough going is his reason to quit and look for easier work. Diligent men believe and practice them, and they find great reward in their own souls and from one another for their zealous and persistent efforts in business (Pr 14:14; 22:29).
Procrastination and hypochondria are sins. They are excuses of cowardly and lazy men (Rom 12:11). Ask a lazy man why he is not happy, and he will fill your ears with his aches and pains. You would think Job exists in every generation! Ask a lazy man why he did not finish the job today, and he will fill your ears with how tomorrow is better and a sure thing. The problem is, he will say similar things tomorrow about the next day!
Distraction is a sin. If you have a job or business, diligence is God’s order (Rom 12:11). Faithfulness is a virtue (Pr 13:17; 25:13; 28:20). It is your God-given duty to apply effort as wisely as possible to make the most possible. In America, is your annual salary or net profit twice your age? It is an indicator. If you are behind, why? What has you distracted?
Dereliction is a sin. If you have a diligent and faithful spouse, that does not relieve you at all of your duties before God, unless it is by full mutual agreement after consulting with God’s word and wise counselors. Get up and get out – there is no lion! But the Lion of the tribe of Judah will stalk slothful men, for only diligent producers are in His kingdom.
What is the cure for fear and sloth? Get out in the street! Charge your duties with zeal! It will amaze you how empty the streets are of opposition, when you face them head on. The morning is only dark and cold while you cuddle in a warm bed with the light off. Get out of bed and turn the light on, and you will be surprised that things are better already!
Ten fearful and slothful spies forgot God’s great works in saving them from Egypt and told Israel that Canaan would be too difficult for them to take (Num 13:26-33). Instead of the lion in the streets, they used the giants and grasshoppers excuse. “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Num 13:33). Poor boys! They died like dogs in the wilderness for their lack of faith and diligence to take the promise land!
Jesus gave varied funds to three men (Matt 25:14-30). Two invested theirs and earned a nice return and the high praise of their Lord. The other was a slothful loser, who buried his talent in the ground, out of intimidation and slothfulness. His excuse was that his Lord was too severe in His expectations. Poor boy! His talent was taken away and given to the man with ten. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ has called you to carry your cross daily (Luke 9:23). How will you respond? Will you dread the effort and shrink from your profession into carnal backsliding (Phil 3:18-19; Heb 10:38-39)? Or will you count up the cost and labor to pay it in full for the glory of your beloved paymaster (Luke 14:25-33)? Will you take it up today, reader?
If you see a lion in the way of either natural or spiritual projects, remember His precious promise, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet” (Ps 91:13). Let it never be said of you, “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle” (Ps 78:9).
When it comes to spiritual duties and pleasing God in heaven, there is indeed a lion in the streets that seeks to devour you – the devil himself (I Pet 5:8). But if you will resist him, he will flee from you (Jas 4:7). If you will get out of bed and take the whole armor of God that He has provided, you can stand against his wiles (Eph 6:10-18; 5:14-16; 4:27).
The promises of God are obtained by the zealous, not the slothful (Heb 6:9-12). Jesus obtained His crown by facing and enduring the lion in several encounters (Ps 22:11-21; Matt 4:1-11; Heb 12:1-3). Rejoice, reader, that Jesus did not hide from the lion without, or you would die in your sins. Consider His holy example and follow it in all your duties!