It’s 6.00am in the morning. It’s raining. It’s dark. And I can hear the wind blowing the rain against the side of the house. It’s time to warm up for a run . But in that? What idiot would go running outside in that? Then I heard a voice from the Lord,
“The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:13)
Yep, there’s a sluggard inside everyone of us. And the one inside of me was belly-aching big time this morning –
You might catch a cold.
You might slip over on the footpath and hurt yourself.
The cars might not see you and run you down.
You could get killed in the streets!
Or worse, you might get wet!
Harden up wimp and get those running shoes on. And so I did. And it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It rarely is. The voice of the sluggard always blows things out of proportion and makes things seem far worse than they really are. Follow this voice and you’ll end being of little use for anything. Just look at the life of the sluggard in the book of Proverbs. He’s lazy and lethargic; he has no discipline and takes little initiative. He’s the same guy who finds it hard to get out of bed (Prov. 6:9), lift a spoon to his mouth (19:24), refuses to do hard work (21:25) and craves and gets nothing (13:4).
And yet it’s so easy to become just like him. Just avoid doing hard things.
We live in a soft world, and it’s not good for the guys. Look back far enough into your family tree and sooner or later you’ll find someone there who was a farmer, soldier or pioneer who rode out looking for a better life or fought to protect his country’s freedom or like my great-grandfather – cleared bush in Norsewood with little more than an axe, a saw and few horses to make himself a farm. They worked and rode and fought hard, whether it was raining or not.
I didn’t need to go running in the wind and rain this morning. I could have put it off until the weather cleared in a couple of days and then ran two hard runs back-to-back to make up for what I missed. But I did it for my character. I did it to put my body in it’s place. I did it to harden myself so when the going gets tough I won’t tend to wimp out.
“He’s mad,” my wife said to my daughters on the way to school. “What person in their right mind would go out running on a morning like this?”
Answer: the guy who defies the voice of the sluggard and does hard things. Just because.
ל (ʿā·ṣēl): n.masc. [oth adj.]; ≡ Str 6102; TWOT 1672a—LN 88.246–88.251 sluggard, lazy bones, i.e., a person who is habitually lazy and inactive, suggesting he has no discipline or initiative, as a moral failure (Pr 6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13;
26:13, 14, 15, 16+)