Laziness Is Not a Virtue but Rest & Righteousness Are

Laziness Is Not a Virtue but Rest and Righteousness Are

Is It Rest or Laziness?

Have you ever felt guilty for taking a break from your work to daydream or relax in the middle of the day? I have. Why? Perhaps it’s a cultural issue about using time wisely. “Time is money,” as the saying goes.

Relaxing and laziness are not the same.

God set aside one day a week for rest, but we often ignore this. God also gave us work, so we have a sense of purpose. But how many of us keep work and rest in a good balance?

The thought of being lazy is appealing when faced with the daily grind of life. Amid time demands and the tyranny of the urgent, we may daydream of taking a day to just do nothing.

But laziness as a lifestyle or a lazy approach to life—with no ambition or motivation—has an accumulative effect. Laziness becomes its own treadmill of dread with no jumping-off point. Laziness is not a virtue.

But laziness is neither play nor rest. At its best, it’s apathy and slothfulness. At its worst, it is destructive and disruptive—for the lazy person and for those affected by their laziness.

Consider the following verses and perhaps read the whole context of these few verses.


When the storm has passed, the wicked person has vanished,
but the righteous person has an everlasting foundation.
Like vinegar to the teeth, like smoke to the eyes,
so is the lazy person to those who send him on a mission.
The fear of the Lord lengthens the number of days,
but the years of wicked people are shortened.
Proverbs 10:25-27

Simple Insights

The proverb about laziness is quite descriptive—“Like vinegar to the teeth, like smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy person...”

If you’ve been around a campfire when the wind shifts and smoke blows in your eyes, you know how much it burns and how this lingers after you are out of the path of the smoke.

Vinegar has a distinct and lasting taste. If you’ve tasted bad wine, certain home remedies, or an oil and vinegar dressing with too much vinegar, you know the taste. Drinking water doesn’t wash it all away—you need something sweet to counter the acrid, bitter, and sour taste left in your mouth.

How is this proverb of any value to our daily life?

Depending on someone who is lazy or does their work lazily is more than futile or frustrating. It leaves a bitter taste in our mouths that lingers. The burn of being let down by someone has a ripple effect.

It’s easy to see this with others, but how about ourselves? We only fool ourselves when we make excuses or blame others for our own slackness in carrying out a task.

I’ve heard complaints from people who work with Christian believers who don’t do their jobs well and excuse their poor work performance because they are “witnessing for the Lord.” The trouble is, they are a poor example of Christianity and this leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of those who work with them.

Those of us who are people of faith need to show excellence in the workplace, as well as with any task or service we do at church.

We also need to do whatever we do with a cheerful and gracious attitude. This honors the Lord and won’t leave a bitter taste in anyone’s mouth or heart.

Those who trust in the Lord honor His day of rest, but are also honorable in other ways. They are a blessing to those around them, unlike the lazy person.


If you are a person of faith and follower of Jesus, you are to be an honorable example in your workplace or any other place you serve others. Do so with a cheerful and gracious attitude so the Lord is honored and others are blessed by your presence.

Prayer Focus

Ask God to show you where you might need to improve your effort at work or while serving in some ministry or church role. If the Lord shows you what you could do better, ask Him to show you how to make those necessary changes.


Trip Kimball
God’s Word Mission Society welcomes Trip Kimball, a GOD’S WORD Ambassador, author of several books, and one member of the pastoral team of Poimen Ministries. This article was republished in part with permission.

1 comment

  • Madeline

    Thank you, this has really helped me understand God’s word in thoughtful way, I think at sometimes we can all relate to this but God wants us to come to him and spend time with him in his word and his scripture.

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