I wrote in a previous article The Beauty of Idleness. Occasional period of idleness is beautiful and beneficial to us. When we engage ourselves in lighthearted and playful activities which are at the same time constructively and satisfying are good for our body, mind and spirit. The time we’ve given ourselves for introspection, reflection and thoughtful contemplation always make us keyed up to go back to the exercise of our vocation and avocation. It makes us enjoy the abundant life; adding life to our years.
In this post, I want to address about The Danger of Idleness. The idleness the Bible decries about is a man/woman who walks in idleness. Psychologists call it chronic idleness, that is, a person though he can work and work is available for him, yet chooses not to work or unwilling to work. His life is characterized as walking in idleness.
In Titus 1:12 Paul has given us a glimpse of an idle or lazy person. Some people are like the Cretans. Two vices mentioned here that attributed to them – indeed commonly go together -- - gluttony and sloth. An idle person is always a glutton. An industrious man will not often be a glutton, and a glutton will not often be an industrious man. A glutton only concern is his stomach (compare Phi. 3:19).
Paul gives a stern command if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. They are admonished to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. You probably know a person who is not engaged in some kind of productive activity, he is usually voracious and ravenous in his table manners. They are always the first ones to line up to the buffet table and the food that they have taken on their plates are like a con-shaped mountain in appearance. The persons behind them on the buffet table have to be content with the skimpy portions of food left.
I read somewhere that “idleness is a nursery of crimes” and “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” There is also an article which I read a while back that says "an idle brain is the Devil's Workshop."
Let me illustrate this by relating to you the story of David and Bathsheba. The account of the whole story is found in 2 Samuel 11 and 2 Chronicles 20. At that time the army of Israel was at war, led by Joab, David’s commander. But David remained in Jerusalem. After having taken a nap in the heat of the day after dinner; he indulged himself the luxury of refreshing himself, it still is the cool of the day by walking on the rooftop of his house. The houses in the land of Israel as in the Middle East have flat roofs enabling one to walk upon. (See Deu.22:8).
From the roof he saw a very beautiful woman (with a fine shape and good complexion and comely countenance) washing herself on the rooftop of her house. David perhaps lustfully exclaimed what he saw “Naliligong Babae Abaw.” When the phrase which is in Tagalog is translated into English meant is exactly the name of the beautiful woman he saw – Bathsheba. “Naliligong” means bathing; “Babae” is She, female gender; “BA” an expression of elation and euphoria. You know the rest of the story. He thought about her, watched her and asked about her to others. He then sent for her and committed adultery with her. Later, Nathan the prophet confronted David of this terrible sin. The Devil took advantage of his David's idleness as a workshop for evil that led David to commit adultery with Bathsheba and even engineered the death of her husband Uriah. He allowed his idle time to nurture the seed of lust which is planted in the garden of his mind which eventually led him to commit the sins of adultery, deceit and finally murder.
In Psalms 51, we read David’s prayer for forgiveness after Nathan the prophet rebuked him for his sin with Bathsheba. It’s a beautiful prayer of contrition—a deep and genuine feelings of guilt and remorse. God had forgiven David and called him still “a man after God’s own heart.”
The apostle Paul said that HISTORY was written and stands written for us comprising the end-time generation--for our learning, examples, admonitions and instructions so that we would not repeat the mistakes committed by our forebears. And also give us comfort and hope that if we have committed mistakes and the sin that always beset us, upon repentance God would forgive us. Also, the beloved apostle John testified in 1Jn. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It may well for us to take heed the example of David on how not to use the bits and pieces of idle times that we give to ourselves.