At Hope Church, we’re in a sermon series called SEVEN where each week, we look at one of the seven deadly sins (Pride, Envy, Sloth, Greed, Lust, Wrath, and Gluttony) as part of human condition and contrast it with the teachings of Jesus in the Beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount. The series is based of a Jeff Cook’s “Seven: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes.” I’ve been moved by the book and the series as I look at my own heart and Jesus’ call to live the God life.
This week, we defined sloth as “indifference to our neighbors, our world, and to God.” Rather than defining it as laziness, it is when we allow ourselves to focus on trivial and maybe meaningless things rather than being concerned about what God wants us to be about.
In the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the story of three servants who receive large sums of money from their master, who is going away. The first two servants invest the money and double it. The master is pleased with them and invites them to share in his happiness- which is saying something since they are slaves. The third servant, buries the money in fear of losing it and making his master mad. But the master is furious at the servant for his failure to act, his failure to be concerned about what his master is concerned about.
This is sloth- indifference.
In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied.”
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is supremely concerned about justice for the poor, the marginalized, the outcast, and the least of these. He says as much in Luke 4:18-19. As with the third servant in the parable of the talents, the goats in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)- a failure to be concerned about that which concerns God results in eternal punishment.
Jesus doesn’t just want occasional acts of righteousness- but a lifestyle of passionate concern for justice that reflects our Master’s concern for the least and the lost. God has given each of us talents, resources, abilities, and blessings. We are not to hoard these things for ourselves- but we are to take what we’ve been given- grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, joy, and hope- and multiply it and share it with those who need it the most.
What ways are you multiplying and sharing what God has blessed you with? Where are the areas you struggle with sloth- things that take your eyes and your heart away from the things that God is concerned about?