Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Choose to Change #9: Productivity over Slothfulness

Proverbs 10:4-5

INTRODUCTION

Have you ever received a gift certificate from someone?

They are wonderful aren't they?

Take an piece of paper and exchange it for valuable merchandise.

One problem with all of that. Most of them have an expiration date.

That means that we have to use it within the allotted time or it becomes worthless.

Have you ever put one aside and then realized that the certificate had expired?

Life is like a gift certificate from God. We can use if for the Lord, or we can waste it.

The choice is ours. The challenge is to choose to be productive rather than lazy.

An attitude of laziness (the Bible refers to this as slothfulness) results in wasting the gifts that God has given to us.

I. Does the Bible Promise Riches?

A. This is a false teaching.

1. This comes from the teaching of 'Name it and Claim it’

2. Consider the nearly constant barrage of teaching on Radio and TV.

3. Let God know what you need from Him:

a. New Car?

b. New Job?

c. Health?

d. New House?

e. Finances?

4. Give God your best gift. (that means money)

5. Pray the prayer of agreement.

6. This is generally some claim to the items above.

7. This is also connected with laying your hand on a photograph or the picture tube.

8. Mail your prayer request and your faith gift back to them right away.

B. Bible Teaching.

1. Consider the following verses.

(Prov 3:9 10) "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: {10} So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."

(Prov 10:22) "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it."

(Prov 15:6) "In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble."

2. At first glance these may seem to indicate that if we are righteous, faithful, and true to the Lord then He is obligated to give us riches.

3. The truth is that God does bless His children, but it is not always in the realm of the material things.

C. So what's the point?

1. Although God does not call all of us to a life of riches: He does call all of us to a life of productivity.

(2 Thess 3:10) "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

2. Choosing productivity means using what God has given us to serve and honor Him.

II. The Opposite of Productivity

(Proverbs 24:30 34) "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; (31) And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. (32) Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. (33) Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: (34) So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."

A. Slothfulness or the Sluggard.

1. The person who wastes his life and the gifts that God has given is represented as being 'slothful' or a 'sluggard'.

2. Sometimes he is referred to as a 'fool'.

3. He is not a freak of nature, just an ordinary man who has made too many excuses, too many refusals, and too many postponements.

B. How to recognize a Sluggard.

1. He refuses to begin a job.

(Prov 26:13 14) "The slothful man saith, there is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets. {14} as the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed."

2. The sluggard doesn't complete the work that he starts.

(Prov 12:27) "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious."

a. Here we see that the sluggard, even if he begins a task, falls short of completion.

b. John F. Kennedy said, "Success hinges on a passion for excellence."

3. The sluggard ignores opportunities.

(Prov 24:33 34) "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: (34) So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."

a. The problem with the sluggard was not that he slept, because we all need sleep.

b. The real problem was that he slept at the wrong time.

c. He should have been preparing his field for the sowing seed, but he was asleep.

d. When harvest time came there was nothing.

C. The sluggard desires riches without earning them.

1. He will play the power ball or lottery before he will pay his bills.

2. He wants the blessings of prosperity without putting forth the effort to be productive.

(Proverbs 14:23) "In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury." (Prov 28:19) "he that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough."

III. Becoming Productive

A. We need a clearly defined purpose.

1. Without it, there is little motivation to use what God has given us to glorify Him.

2. Complacency is a bitter enemy to productivity.

B. Manage time effectively.

1. Every minute of our life is a precious gift from God.

2. We need to make the best use of it.

(Psalm 90:12) "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

C. Follow God's principles of finance.

1. Ignoring Biblical principles about money will result in financial bondage.

2. Number one reason God’s people are in debt!

(Proverbs 3:9 10) "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: (10) So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."

CONCLUSION:

To have a truly productive life, we must invest our efforts in those areas that will have the greatest returns. Since this earth and everything on it will pass away, our attention needs to be on those things that are of eternal significance. The challenge is to choose to be productive. A person can be busy without being productive.

Let's purpose to invest our lives into those things that will last for an eternity. Let's determine that we will replace the spirit of slothfulness with the spirit with a diligence.

Only one life and soon 'twill be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.