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Rev. Andrew J. Demotses

A college student was once called to a meeting with his faculty advisor because he had not yet declared his major. When asked by his advisor if there was a problem, the student replied that he was looking “for an easy job.” His professor’s reply was painfully direct. He told him that with “that attitude you’ll never amount to anything. You cannot enroll in the school of journalism and hope to become an editor, or in the school of law to be a lawyer, nor can you even think of entering the priesthood. None of these professions is easy. You cannot consider the fields of engineering, manufacturing or merchandising, and you can forget entirely the practice of politics or the difficult field of medicine. Being a good farmer, soldier or tradesman requires skills, resourcefulness, and an appetite for hard work. No, the only easy place in this world is the grave.”

There is a great spiritual truth in this admonition. God expects us to work, and to put heart and soul into whatever life task he gives us to do. We are not to labor with “a slack hand.” Even in paradise, Adam had his work cut out for him. “Then the Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.” (Gen 2:15). Diligence is a law of life, and many of the proverbs of Scripture praise this trait and condemn laziness.

Those who refuse to be industrious will eventually be rudely awakened from their daydreams, because rejection from others and physical need are sure to come into their lives. “Slothfulness,” said the wise King Solomon, “casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.” (Prov. 19:15).

I do not mean to suggest by all this that all poor people are lazy; quite the contrary, many work very hard but are not rewarded because of circumstances beyond their control. Still others cannot work because of illness or the need to care for another. Nor do I believe that leisure is wrong. After all even Scripture advises “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands . . .” (Prov. 6:10). No, what I am arguing against is coming to work looking for an easy way out. God says, “Go to the ant you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise." (Prov. 6:6).

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