Sluggardliness – Gospel in Life


Tim Keller |  November 21, 2004

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  • Work & Faith
Proverbs 8:1-4; 10:4-5; 12:10-11; 15:19; 22:29; 27:18
RS 178-11


Today’s sermon is a continuation of a study on wisdom in the book of Proverbs. Throughout the book you’ll find that work is a recurring theme. It talks positively about work under the heading of “diligence.” It talks negatively about work under the heading of “sluggard” or “the sluggardliness.” It tells us if you want to have a fulfilled human life, you need to do four things with your work: do your work, love your work, re-narrate your work, and redeem your work.

Understanding Work Through the Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible offers us a lot of wisdom about work. It stresses the importance of being hardworking and warns us about being lazy. It helps us understand the challenges and stresses that we may face while working in a city environment, and teaches us the importance of finding joy in what we do. The Book of Proverbs gives us four main principles to help us live a fulfilling life through our work.

1. You have to do your work

Proverbs emphasizes being diligent and strategic in our work. It warns us about laziness and teaches us to find a healthy balance between work and rest. It also tells us that all work is honorable, even if society looks down on it. The Bible even describes God as a worker, showing us that work has a spiritual aspect. Not working meaningfully can lead to us feeling disconnected from our humanity and our spirituality.

2. You have to love your work

Our motivation for work matters. The Bible tells us that our work affects not just us, but also our families and communities. It teaches us to see work as a way to serve others and make a positive impact on society, not just a way to make money. It encourages us to use our unique talents to do the work that God has called us to do, leading to a more fulfilling and enjoyable work life.

3. You have to re-narrate your work

God’s wisdom encourages us to challenge the norms of society around individual freedom and fulfillment, even in public spaces like courts and markets. It asks us to align our work with God’s idea of peace, justice, and human flourishing. A good example of this is the British abolitionist movement, where Christians chose to fight against slavery rather than focus on making money, showing how our economy can align with God’s wisdom.

4. You have to redeem your work

Work can sometimes be challenging and cause stress and disappointment. But the Bible offers hope through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. By dedicating our work to Jesus, we can find balance and fulfillment, contribute to the renewal of the world, and help bring about peace and justice.



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