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Thursday June 14 – Sloth defined

I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. – Proverbs 24:30-31

Scripture reading: Proverbs 24

As though answering our confusion about sloth being on this list, Proverbs loves to give us visual pictures of the dangers of this besetting sin (just do a Google search on sloth). It is not just his lawn and garden and grounds that are unkempt and disordered. It is symptomatic of his heart and life. His plans and priorities and energies are skewered with thorns, strewn with nettles, ineffective like a broken stone wall.

C.S. Lewis once wrote:

“You will say these are very small sins…[But] it does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turning, without milestone, without signposts.”

This is sloth, a true slippery slope towards apathy, disinterest, indifference. Dorothy Sayers describes it as:

“the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, enjoys nothing, seeks to know nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive only because there is nothing it would die for.”

We will encapsulate it this way: sloth is boredom with God.

Suggestions for prayer

“I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree…Lord, dost thou have mercy on me?” – The Valley of Vision: Heart Corruptions

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mark Stewart serves the Burlington URC in Burlington, WA.

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