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The daily life of a Christian worker often determines whether he is qualified for the Lord's work. Some young people manifest qualities that give you the confident expectation that they will develop into useful servants of Christ. From the very beginning, they give others the impression that they are good seeds and that they will blossom and bring forth fruit. There are others who are quite confident of themselves and who consider themselves quite highly, but before long, they fall by the way. In addition to being useless, they also bring dishonor to the Lord's name. They chose a way that is too broad and too wide. Still others are not very conspicuous at the beginning. However, they prove their worth before the Lord in later years. You may ask how we can account for these wide differences. Let me answer frankly that there are certain fundamental features in the constitution and character of every person which account for his usefulness and without which no one can be of any use in the service of the Lord. A young man may hold great promise in many areas, but if fundamental features are lacking, he cannot work for the Lord, even though his desire to serve the Lord is genuine and even though he has prepared himself for it. He can never carry out a proper work for the Lord. We have never met anyone who cannot control his body, yet who can be a good worker of the Lord. I do not know what these ones make of themselves in other professions, but I have never seen a person who is unable to control and rule over his body prove to be a useful servant of the Lord, nor have I seen a man who does not have a mind to suffer who can serve the Lord. I have never met a person who fails to listen to others who is good at serving. All servants of the Lord have to have certain basic character traits. In other words, they must possess such qualifications; they must receive mercy from the Lord to possess these qualities before they can serve the Lord in a proper way. Serving the Lord is not simple. A breaking-down and building-up process is necessary for the outer man. If you are wrong, loose, and undisciplined in many things, you are not qualified to do the Lord's work. Many are not qualified to do the Lord's work because of flaws in their character and personality, not because of a lack of technique, knowledge, or doctrine. This frustration has delayed the Lord's work in many instances. We have to learn to listen to the brothers, to humble ourselves before the Lord, to seek after Him, and to deal with Him in many aspects. We should never despise the training of our character. If our character and disposition do not go through some severe constituting work of the Spirit, we cannot expect much result from our work. None of the basic training in our character can be overlooked. If we are constituted in our character, we can work for the Lord. Without such a character, we cannot work for Him. Let us spend time before Him to deal with these character issues one by one.
In this chapter we come to another character issue—diligence.
Matthew 25:18, 24-28, 30 says, "But he who had received the one went off and dug in the earth and hid his master's money....Then he who had received the one talent also came and said, Master, I knew about you, that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow. And I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the earth; behold, you have what is yours. And his master answered and said to him, Evil and slothful slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I did not winnow. Therefore you should have deposited my money with the money changers; and when I came, I would have recovered what is mine with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents....And cast out the useless slave into the outer darkness." This passage shows us that one of the basic requirements of a worker of the Lord is diligence. It clearly portrays the fundamental trouble in the life of a servant. The trouble was twofold: He was both "evil" and "slothful." His evil was manifested in his calling his master "a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow." We shall not dwell on this aspect of his character, but we shall speak of the other, that is, his sloth. He hid his talent in the earth because his heart was evil and his hands were slothful. In his heart he had certain thoughts about his master. These thoughts were evil. At the same time, he did not do what he should have done, but instead he hid the talent in the earth. This is simply slothfulness. We want to pay attention to this aspect of his character. A slothful character is the biggest weakness among many people.
Slothful people never look for things to do. If work comes their way, they seek to evade it. Many Christians also adopt this attitude; they view big matters as being small, and small matters as being nothing. They try to reduce a big work to a small work, and they try to make a small work nothing at all. This is their attitude all the time. Based on our experience, we can say that only one kind of person is useful—those who are diligent. A slothful person is detestable. A brother once said that even Satan can do nothing about a slothful person. Proverbs 19:24 says, "A sluggard burieth his hand in the dish, and will not even bring it to his mouth again" (Darby). It is hard for a lazy man to do just about anything. It is hard because he is afraid of becoming tired. He puts his hand in the dish, but cannot even bring it to his mouth again. He has to eat, but he wishes that others would bring the food in the dish to his mouth. If there is ever a useless man on this earth, he has to be one who is slothful. God will not use a slothful person. Brothers and sisters, have you ever known an effective Christian worker who is slothful? Everyone who is ever used by God labors and works diligently in His service. He is always on the alert lest he squander his time or strength. Those who are always looking for an opportunity for rest and recreation are not worthy of being called God's servants. God's servants cannot adopt a lazy living. They seek to buy up every opportunity that is available to them.
Look at the apostles in the New Testament, from Peter to Paul. Can we find one lazy bone in them? They did not have any trace of laziness. They had no thought of wasting their time. All of them labored diligently and sought for every opportunity to serve the Lord. Paul said, "Proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching" (2 Tim. 4:2). The proclamation of the word must be done in season and out of season. One has to labor diligently, whether in season or out of season. A worker of the Lord has to work in season and out of season. This means that he has to be very diligent. All the apostles were extremely diligent. Think of the colossal amount of work Paul accomplished. We may be eighty years old before we have done one tenth of what he did. We must realize that all servants of the Lord are diligent. In considering Paul's work, we can see that he was truly diligent. There was no laziness in him whatsoever. He was either traveling from place to place, preaching the gospel wherever he went, or reasoning intently with individuals and teaching them. Even when he was in prison he was still writing his Epistles. The Epistles which touched the peak of spiritual revelations were all written in his prison cell. Although he was bound within the cell walls, God's word was not bound. Paul was truly a diligent man. He was like his Master, who was never slothful.
In the original language of the New Testament, there are three Greek words for slothfulness. The first is argos, the second is nothros, and the third is okneros. All three words mean slothfulness. They are translated differently in the New Testament (1 Tim. 5:13; Rom. 12:11; Heb. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 12:36; 20:3, 6; 2 Pet. 1:8; Phil. 3:1; Titus 1:12). Whether the words are translated as idle, slothful, sluggish, irksome, or dull, they all mean a refusal or reluctance to work or do things. To be slothful means to ignore the work or to reduce the work until it becomes no work. There is a joke about a doorkeeper whose responsibility was to open the door whenever visitors rang the bell. One day the bell rang, but he did not open the door. When asked why he did not open it, he answered, "I am hoping the bell will stop ringing!" Visitors were waiting to come in, yet he was hoping the bell would stop ringing. Brothers and sisters, what kind of person is this? Unfortunately, this is the way many behave in God's work. They hope that things will go away. Even when things do not go away, they hope that they will not become a burden to them. In their mind they are saying, "How I would thank the Lord if these things went away and I did not have to deal with them!" What is this? This is slothfulness!
What is slothfulness? It is to procrastinate, to drag on for as long as possible, and to take time in doing something. Perhaps a work can be finished in one day, yet the person drags it out for ten days. Or it can be finished in a month, yet the person drags it out for three months. He takes his time to finish the work. This is slothfulness. In some instances the word is translated "idle" (Matt. 20:3, 6). An idle person is one who mills around aimlessly. He is tossed between acting and not acting, and his mind is never set on what should be done. In Philippians 3:1, it is translated "irksome." Paul said, "To write the same things to you, for me it is not irksome, but for you it is safe." As soon as you put something on the shoulders of some brothers and sisters, they are reluctant to take it up. It is irksome to them. They sigh and grumble. It seems as if they are being asked to take up an impossible task and that a very heavy burden has been placed upon them. But this is not the way Paul acted. He was in prison when he wrote his Epistles. It would indeed be a challenge for anyone to write in a situation as dire as his. Yet in writing to the Philippians, Paul exhorted them to rejoice. "Rejoice in the Lord always" (4:4). As far as his circumstances went, he was in grave hardship. Yet he said, "To write the same things to you, for me it is not irksome." He was not slothful. He did not consider it irksome; rather, he considered it a joyous thing. He did not know the meaning of laziness. In him we find a zeal which is prominent among all servants of God. They are not slothful and do not consider it irksome to take challenges upon themselves.
Many brothers and sisters have become useless in God's service because they are afraid to take on any responsibility. They are irked by everything. They constantly hope for less work. They would rather choose less responsibility than more responsibility, and they would be happy to settle for no responsibility at all. They do not have a diligent character. If we are lazy, we are disqualified not only from God's service, but from man's service as well. Many brothers and sisters cannot be servants of the Lord because they are lazy. Some so-called servants of God sit high on a pedestal. It seems as if no one has control over them; no brother or sister can touch them, and no one can say anything to them. They regard themselves as servants of God alone. If their master was changed for a brief moment, they would be shown to be total failures. No human master would allow them to be as sloppy as they are. Our disposition and walk must be so exercised that we would never shrink back from troubles, but would instead prefer service and sacrifice for God's people, both materially and physically. We should prefer to labor and work with our own hands. If this is not our way, we are not qualified to be called God's servants! Paul said, "You yourselves know that these hands have ministered to my needs and to those who are with me" (Acts 20:34). He had two good hands; they were not slothful at all. They worked during the day and during the night. Such a person is truly a servant of God.
What is diligence? It is the opposite of slothfulness. It is not shirking from responsibility. A diligent person does not try to reduce his work to nothing. On the contrary, he tries to create work out of nothing. In the Lord's service, it is quite possible for us to take a day or two of rest if we do not look for work. We should not be those who stand around idly waiting for something to turn up. If we work only when work turns up, we are not diligent persons. A diligent person is never idle; he is always looking for things to do. He is always pondering, praying, contemplating, and considering before God as to what he should do. Unless he exercises himself this way, he can find himself with nothing to do. If we only act "according to the book," we may soon find that there is not much of a book left. We should expect to find much work in our service to God. We should discover many needs. We have to pray much to the Lord and look to Him all the time. We should open our eyes, and as soon as we find something that needs to be done, we should do it. After we finish a job, we should wait on the Lord and look to Him again. And as soon as we find more to do, we should tackle it. Following this, we should seek God's will again, and take on yet another task. This is what it means to serve God. The Lord said, "My Father is working until now, and I also am working" (John 5:17). We must never change this verse to read, "My Father is resting until now, and I also am resting." Laziness is not our way; our way should be, "My Father is working until now, and I also am working."
We should ask the Lord, "What work do You have for me to do?" After the Lord's conversation with the Samaritan woman, He asked His disciples a very strange question: "Do you not say that there are yet four months and then the harvest comes? Behold, I tell you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are already white for harvest" (4:35). According to His disciples, the harvest would not be ready for another four months. But according to the Lord, the harvest had already come. In man's view, one had to wait four months, but the Lord said, "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are already white for harvest." The lack today is men who would lift up their eyes. Everyone wants to wait for four months to work. Today many people are hiding at home instead of journeying in God's way. Their eyes are not on what God is doing today. In John 5:17 the Lord said that He was always doing what His Father had sent Him to do. In John 4:35 He told us to lift up our eyes and look. If we do not lift up our eyes, we will not see anything. The matter of work is altogether related to the matter of diligence. It involves our conscientiousness. It is not a matter of taking care of what is in our hands, but a matter of lifting up our eyes to look for things to do. God is moving and acting behind many things, and we have to lift up our eyes to look for them in order to find them. We have to lift up our eyes to see the harvest and to see if it has ripened. Once we look, we will find work to do. How strange it is that so many people seem so idle; they seem to have nothing to do!
Those who have the intention to work will always find work to do. Those who have no intention to work are always afraid that work will come their way. A diligent person always waits on God. As soon as he is free, he goes to the Lord and looks for things to do. He is always seeking an opportunity to work. A brother once said, "Brother So-and-so is not doing his job. So many brothers from out of town are here, and he will not spend any time to fellowship with them." Another brother asked, "Why do you not tell him?" The first brother answered, "Does something like that have to be said?" This is right. A servant of the Lord should always be waiting on God for things to do. Of course, this does not mean that he should move around and make a fuss ostentatiously. But it does mean that the Lord's servant should always be seeking God and looking to Him. He should build up the habit of lifting up his eyes and looking. If he is truly busy, God will not burden him with further work. But as soon as his time becomes available, he should ask, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" As long as we will lift up our eyes, we will find that many people need our service.
Those who always have nothing to do have only one reason—they are used to being lazy. They live a lazy life. They are lazy by nature. When something is put in their hands, they take more than ten days to finish what others can finish in a day. They have no motivation for work. Brothers and sisters, we have to actively seek for work. If we have not looked to God for work, prayed for work, and found work, we are lazy, and we will not be able to accomplish much work. Even if we are given five or ten more years, we still will not get very far with our work.
A basic requirement of a worker of the Lord is to be quick with his eyes. As soon as a need arises, he should know what to do and how to move. Without this trait, he will not find any work. Our spirit has to be sensitive to the Lord. If we are not sensitive, we will be slow to react to things. We have to pay attention to lifting up our eyes. We should not follow what others say. We should not assume that there are four months to the harvest. We have to hear what the Lord is saying: "Behold, I tell you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are already white for harvest." It is amazing that some walk by the fields every day and yet have no eyes to behold. They think that they still have to wait four more months! They walk by needs every day, yet they do not find anything to do! Their hands have already touched the things that they should do, yet they still say that they do not know what they should do. How strange this is! Brothers and sisters, we have never seen God use a man who was slothful. Those whom God uses are men who expend their energy, who always look for things to do, and who are never loose. They jealously guard the passing moments and never put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Those who are loose with their time have little use in the hand of the Lord. Some people will not move unless they are pushed to do so. They are like grandfather clocks; others have to set them in motion before they do anything. If no one pushes them, they will not move by themselves. Such ones are of little use in God's work. No matter where we go, as long as we find brothers who are laboring and diligently working, we find results. God has done great works in many places because many people labored diligently behind the scene. In some places God's work suffers a setback because some have been slothful. We have never seen a lazy person who was greatly used by God. Often the underlying reason for failure in the work is nothing but slothfulness.
The word in Greek for diligence is spoude or spoudazo. It is also translated as zeal, earnestness, eager, and haste (Rom. 12:8, 11; 2 Cor. 7:11-12; 8:7-8, 16; Heb. 4:11; 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:5, 10; 3:14; Gal. 2:10; 2 Tim. 2:15; 4:9, 21; Titus 3:12; Jude 3; 1 Thes. 2:17; Eph. 4:3; 2 Pet. 1:15; Mark 6:25; Luke 1:39). Romans 12:11 puts the words diligence (zeal) and slothful together. It says, "Do not be slothful in zeal." In other words, to be slothful is to not be diligent. In spiritual work one person should count for ten or even a hundred. If God's servants are lazy, no work can be done. If we are slothful, and ten of us are needed to do the work of one man, how can we meet the need of the work? Brothers and sisters, we have to acquire a diligent character. Whether or not our work is actually overwhelming is a secondary issue. The primary issue is whether or not we have a diligent character. We should be those who are desperate to seek for work before the Lord. Of course, this does not mean that we should pretend to be busy. It is useless to pretend. We should be diligent, and this means that we should not be afraid of responsibility, that we should serve the Lord with zeal, and that we should be burning in spirit. We have to find out what we can do in God's service. This may not be manifested in outward activities, but it should be manifested in our character and disposition. If we are lazy by nature, it will be useless even if we are busy twelve hours a day for days, because eventually we will revert to our same old habits. We must have a character that is diligent and conscientious before we can become useful to the Lord. Some people can force themselves to work for two hours, but in essence they are still lazy persons; they are still very much afraid of responsibility. They pray day and night for their responsibilities to be reduced or eliminated altogether, and they yearn for the day when they will have no responsibilities at all. This is not the way our Lord works. He came to the world to seek out men, to take on responsibilities. He said that He came "to seek and to save that which is lost." He did not come just to make contacts with men; He came to seek them out. We must have this kind of character before we can go on with the Lord.
Second Peter 1:5-7 says, "Adding all diligence, supply bountifully in your faith virtue; and in virtue, knowledge; and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control, endurance; and in endurance, godliness; and in godliness, brotherly love; and in brotherly love, love." This is diligence. Peter used the phrase and in six times. This shows that a diligent man always adds to what he has; he is not content with what he has. We should cultivate this character. We should always add to what we have and never stop. There must always be the "adding...and in." We must push ourselves all the time. This is the only way to see results. If we are idle and lazy by nature, we will not get anywhere. Some people do not sense any responsibility in God's work; they do not feel any burden on their shoulders. They have never thought of improving the work or expanding their work. They have never thought of gaining more men for the Lord or spreading the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. They can tolerate everything. How can God use such men? If they do not see a single soul saved today, they accept it as a matter of course. If they do not see a soul saved tomorrow, they are not alarmed either. How can such ones work for God? How can the Lord's purpose be attained through workmen of this sort? God needs workers who will not give up, who always seek to add to what they have. Only such men can participate in the Lord's work. Read the words of 2 Peter 1:5-8 again: "Adding all diligence, supply bountifully in your faith virtue; and in virtue, knowledge; and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control, endurance; and in endurance, godliness; and in godliness, brotherly love; and in brotherly love, love. For these things, existing in you and abounding, constitute you neither idle nor unfruitful unto the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Peter said that we should be more diligent. How can we be diligent? We have to add to what we have. This is the way to be delivered from idleness. In other words, slothfulness can only be removed by diligence. How do we become diligent? We become diligent by always adding to what we have. We should always feel that we do not have enough, that we will not settle for what we have, and that we will not stop until we abound and are no longer idle or unfruitful unto the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, we have to counter our laziness with "adding...and in." We should pay attention to Peter's word. If we only preach the doctrine of diligence, we only have to exhort others to be diligent, and we only need to say it once. But Peter repeated the pattern in verses 5 through 7. He was showing us that one can only be diligent when he adds to what he has again and again until he has these things in abundance. This is the only way to not be idle or unfruitful. Brothers and sisters, we need to pray for God to change our character. We do not want to be slothful. We want to be those who are happy and willing to work and who constantly seek for an opportunity to serve the Lord.
Peter did not stop here; he went on. Please read verse 15: "Moreover I will also be diligent that you may be able, after my exodus, to bring these things to mind at all times." Here the word diligent is used once again. Peter charged them diligently to remember these things. Perhaps he had seen too many lazy ones. This is why he had to diligently remind them of these things. Brothers and sisters, we have to learn to serve our God diligently and conscientiously. We should seize every opportunity to serve Him. We should have a disposition and a character that are forever diligent. A good worker is one who is at work not only with his hands and feet, but with his mind and heart as well. If we are not diligent, we will not be of much use to the Lord's work. Those who are good at doctrines may be completely useless to the Lord if they are lazy by nature. All who are afraid of work and responsibility and who have no desire to do anything are not qualified to serve God. They are not fit for His work.
The two Epistles to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus are letters concerning the Lord's work. Second Timothy 4:9 says, "Be diligent to come to me quickly." If a man is diligent, he will come quickly. But if a man is slothful, he will come slowly. Paul said, "Be diligent to come to me quickly." Verse 21 says, "Be diligent to come before winter." Titus 3:12 also speaks of diligence. In these Epistles on work, diligence is very much emphasized.
Jude says the same thing in verse 3: "Beloved, while using all diligence to write to you concerning our common salvation..."
Paul spoke of diligence in other places as well. In pointing out the Corinthians' repentance, he said, "For behold this very thing, your being made sorrowful according to God, what earnestness it has worked out in you" (2 Cor. 7:11). The word earnestness in this verse is the same as diligence in Greek.
Brothers and sisters, if a man wants to learn to serve the Lord, he must be awakened to the weightiness of his responsibility, to the urgency of the need around him, and to the fleeting nature of time! Life is short. If such a consciousness is present within him, he will become diligent and unrelenting. If we do not feel the fleeting nature of our time, the urgency of the need around us, or the weightiness of our responsibility, we will not be able to accomplish much in God's work. If the burden is pressed upon us, we will have no option but to work, even if we have to deprive ourselves of food, sleep, and rest to achieve the goal. This is the only way to make progress in our work. If we consider rest as the most important thing in our life, we will not get too far with our work. Brothers and sisters, our time is almost gone; the need is ever so desperate, and our responsibility is ever so great. Let us, as dying men with fleeting breath and fading opportunity, give ourselves fully to preach the gospel to those who are dying around us. If we drag our feet and fail to see the needs around us, the responsibility that we bear, and the little time that we have, we will not get much of the Lord's work done. Today every servant of God has to serve with a dying urgency. Who can be slothful under such pressure? Brothers and sisters, we must arise and discipline our body in order to be diligent. As Paul said, we have to buffet our body and make it our slave. Just saying that we are eager to serve the Lord is not enough. If we are lazy, we will not be able to tackle any problem before us. Do not think that slothfulness is a small thing. Second Peter 1:8 says that slothfulness is laziness and idleness. We cannot be lazy, and we cannot be idle. We have to buffet our body again and again until we realize that a total, genuine, and daily sacrifice of our life is the only way to work and become useful. We cannot deceive ourselves. Some people say that they will gladly give up their lives for the Lord. Yet they live a lazy life. They try to spare themselves in everything. If they try to bring their character, habits, and disposition into the Lord's work, they will find that they are holding back the Lord's work! If Paul had waited every time for a Macedonian call before he worked, the book of Acts might have recorded only one mission of Paul to Macedonia. The Macedonian call was only one among many in Paul's work. As for the rest of his work, Paul carried it out with a burden which he bore before the Lord. If we have to wait for the brothers to come to us before we will work, we may wait a lifetime for nothing. We work because we have a burden, because we know that the time is short, the need is great, and Satan's attack is fierce. We are forced to be diligent. Slothfulness can make an otherwise useful man useless. It can turn a man of riches into a man who works only to a third, a fifth, or merely a tenth of what he is capable of! Everyone who knows God and who is useful in His hand is diligent.
Let us return to the passage in Matthew 25:18-30. What does it say in that passage? In the parable we see two possible charges facing us at the judgment seat—the charge of "evil" and the charge of "slothful." The slave was evil because he harbored ill thoughts about the Lord. Perhaps not many people are this evil. But nine out of ten may have to admit that they are slothful slaves when they stand before the Lord. At that time the Lord Himself will pronounce the judgment: "Cast out the useless slave into the outer darkness" (v. 30). The Lord considers a slothful servant a "useless" one. Sometimes we ask why God uses a certain brother. He uses him because he gives himself to what he is doing day and night. The way is with the diligent ones; no lazy ones can take this way. We have to sacrifice our all before we can take this way. Brothers and sisters, if we do not deal with the problem of slothfulness, we cannot have any work at all. Once we become lazy, our worth is cut in half. If we allow ourselves to go on this way, we may end up with only a tenth of our worth. There are already too few people who know the Lord today. If we drag our feet and are slow in our endeavor, how can our work accomplish anything? Do not regard this matter lightly. Do not think that diligence is a small thing. Many people in the past have become useless and have fallen by the wayside, wasting themselves through their slothfulness. Let us take this solemn warning. From this very day let us look to the Lord to enable us to reverse our habit and character altogether. May the Lord remove slothfulness from us. We cannot be lazy and idle. If we are, our work will not have a future.
We should discipline our body in such a strict way that it will be fully obedient to us. We should be diligent, not slothful. The most common malady in our work is slothfulness. Perhaps nine out of ten persons are slothful. A servant of the Lord should have the stamina to always push himself forward. The Bible uses the ox instead of the horse as a symbol of our service. An ox plods on with the same work today, tomorrow, and the next day; it never gives up. If we work one day when we are up and rest the next day when we are down, or work when the weather is fair and rest when the weather is foul, we will never see any result to our work. But if we move on step by step, day by day, unrelentingly and steadily, we will see results sooner or later. May God deliver us from our flippant and foolish ways so that we can be like the ox, holding, gripping, steadying, and unrelentingly and diligently working all the time. If we do this, we will have a way to go on.
The book of Proverbs speaks of slothfulness more than any other book in the Old Testament. It gives a clear picture of what slothfulness is. The Hebrew word atsel is translated fourteen times, either as slothful or as sluggard (6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13-16). It is translated once as slothfulness (19:15). The Hebrew word remiyah is also translated as slothful twice (12:24, 27). Solomon made it clear what slothfulness is.
Since slothfulness is a habit that has been built up over the years, we cannot hope to correct it in a day or two. If we do not deal with it in a serious way, it may stay with us for the rest of our life. Do not think that hearing one message will solve the problem. It is not that simple. This habit has taken years to build up, and it has become part of our character. Unless we deal with it sternly before the Lord, we cannot rid ourselves of it. We expect those who are accustomed to laziness to be all the more conscientious in dealing with their slothfulness. Unless they deal with this matter soberly, they cannot participate in the Lord's work. God's work cannot tolerate lazy ones. No slothful person can produce a proper work, because the disposition of a lazy man always tries to ignore or put off things. When things come his way, he wishes that they would disappear altogether. Those with a lazy habit are hopeless as far as God's work is concerned. Every servant of the Lord must be a busy person. He should always look for something to occupy himself with. He should put himself under every burden and delve into every problem; he should not avoid problems. Every servant of God should take all kinds of responsibilities upon himself; he should not be afraid of troubles. Brothers and sisters, we have to deal with our evil habit of avoiding work, trouble, and assignments. We must deal with this in a stern way. A man who is lazy can never serve God.