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When Idleness Is Not An Option

Updated on July 23, 2010

Idleness Is Not An Option


“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”  Ezekiel 16:49


In Leviticus 18 it speaks of when God brought Israel into Canaan, how He warned them not to do according to the abominations of the men of that land, who were there before them.

Idleness:     In the New Testament this word is rendered from the Greek word ‘Argos’; meaning “inactive”, “unfruitful” or “useless”.  Jesus touched on this in his parable of the ‘Workers in the vineyard’:  “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing”.  Matthew 20:3 NIV

Idleness was never meant to be a lifestyle.  The less active we are, the more useless we become.  The more we surrender to it, so go our usefulness.

Most of us have read the story of creation, when God created all things, including Man (Adam and Eve).  The first thing He gave Adam was a job:  “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”.  Genesis 2:15 NIV

From the beginning, idleness was not an option.  God took great care to satisfy us fully, naturally as well as spiritually.  He addressed our natural needs first, knowing that it would help us understand the spiritual aspects of life.  The next thing He did was address our natural loneliness:  The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him”.   Genesis 2:18 NIV

Adam needed a companion, not just to procreate, though that was true, but to communicate to and with, to be affectionate with, to love and, to share in the work of taking care of the Garden.

One of the reasons idleness run rampant in the lives of so many is because they don’t understand their usefulness.  When we don’t believe we can contribute anything meaningful and useful, we allow ‘Idleness’ to have its way.

One of the most remembered stories in the bible depicting the tragedies of ‘Idleness’ is that of ‘David and Bathsheba’.  Here is a man after Gods own heart that fell victim to this subtle, but deadly sin.  It is said that“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army”.  2 Samuel 11:1

Instead of leading his army into battle, which was customary of all kings, David sent someone in his place.  There are some things we should not delegate to others.  We should own and carry out our duties and responsibilities; for the time allotted for them has not been commissioned for any other activity.  David found this out the hard way.

There are active faithful workers in the Church today who have been carrying out their duties and responsibilities for many, many years.  Who among us will they find to entrust this noble work to?  “The harvest is plenty but, the workers are few”.

Some of us have the idea that to engage in meaningful and productive work for the Lord it must be in the Church.  Not so!  Look at the virtuous woman in Proverbs:  “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”.  Proverbs 31:27 NIV

I’m sure she had no idea that her character building actions and her exemplary lifestyle as a woman and wife would grace the pages of divine canon.

Let’s not forget about Paul:  While addressing the Thessalonians he said:  “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work neither should he eat”.          2 Thessalonians 3:10.


The community is our vineyard.  We must be active workers in our community and not allow ‘idleness’ to take root.  Those who are in our community that don’t know the Lord must be engaged by those of us who do.  It is our duty and responsibility to ‘strengthen the hand of the poor and needy’.

All the angels in heaven rejoice when one soul comes to the Lord: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:10 NIV

We are called to be active workers in Christ, not idle loafers in limbo.  The legacy we leave should be one that assures us of hearing those wonderful words from our Lord and Savior: “well done my good and faithful servant, well done.”


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    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      8 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Hi no body,

      Thank you for your valuable contribution to this hub.

      God Bless You

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      When I retired after nearly 40 years of working my job, I realized how the lack of working may be a problem. I asked my pastor how he filled his days and kept his focus. He said something I have kinda bouncing around in my head. He said, "If I'm not serving, I'm sinning." I find that to be the case. If I am idle and not clinging to the Lord I will find myself having to confess cause if I'm not serving I'm sinning.

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      8 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you Cristina327 for your gracious and thoughtful comment; you too, Abrushing1968, it is always good to hear from you. My working hours have been horrendous :), but I am grateful to be working.

      Thank you too Judah's Daughter, for your comment and insight.

      God Bless you.

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      8 years ago from USA- Florida


      My problem is not that I feel useless and so turn to idleness. I turn to idleness simply because I am Lazy! I have fight agianst my flesh in this way constently! A little slumber and a little folding of the hands and distruction is upon me instantly. EEESH

      I think I will get back to work now!

      God bless


    • cristina327 profile image

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      8 years ago from Manila

      It is nice to hear from you again Wehzo. This is indeed another excellent hub from you. Thank you for sharing this timely reminder. Work is a God-ordained principle through which a man will earn his livelihood. Blessings to you and your family. Best regards.

    • Wehzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 

      8 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you coffesnob and Judah's Daughter for your insightful contributions, and steadfast comittment to Christ.

      God Bless

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 

      8 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Beautiful and truthful hub! The 'sin' in this world (both spiritually and physically) is the idleness of many, leaving the responsibility and work to the few. If each man 'carried his own load', we would not be burning out the few while enabling the idleness of many. In all that we DO, may it be as unto the LORD. God bless!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      For the Christian this is an important message in that we are told in 2 Cor 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." That phrase good or bad is better rendered useful or useless - kind of parallels the parable of the talents. We were made to work and as Christ followers our work is Kingdom work and though our work does not get us to heaven - we are judged by what we did with what He gave us..

      Great hub



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