We make all the plans in the world, only to have them fall through. We have very little control over our world. But we do have control over our own, individual action. It is the virtue of diligence that ensures that we use our time and our actions to their full potential.
Last week, we established that sloth is more than not doing things, it is also doing too much, and thus, interfering with our obligation to do everything God has called us to do. Diligence, sloth's antithesis, calls us to a life of dedicated hard work and belief in our lives. Just like sloth requires us to mindlessly cross things off of our to do list (or ignore it all together), diligence helps us to accomplish things with good intention.
Diligence gives us the strength to do all that needs to be done, without burning out or putting other, important things on the back burner. We live in a society where we constantly brag about how busy we are, how little sleep we have gotten, and we glorify the overly-busy, caffeine addict. The goal is to be the person who "has it all". But this is not diligence, it is just glorification of an unhealthy, dangerous lifestyle. We must budget our time wisely, giving each thing its proper time. Diligence requires us to not only give work its due time, but also family, friends, and our God. We have to monitor ourselves closely, being careful to not fall into a habitual rut that allows for a stagnant lifestyle.
We guard against sloth by giving everything its due time, by ensuring that we are living our lives to the fullness that God intended. After all, we were called to do more than just live, but also to thrive.
As far as laziness goes, the United States hardly seems slothful. We work more hours, we take less vacation time, we run the rat race with pride and brag about how little sleep we have gotten over the last week. So how could we possibly be committing the sin of sloth?
Sloth refers to a kind of boredom, to a sluggishness in our souls. It means we want to avoid the exertion required to create something good in our lives, whether a mental exertion to write something down or a spiritual exertion to spend time with God in prayer. But sloth is not a sin against man, but against God. it has nothing to do with the time clock and everything to do with keeping the dignity and inherent good God desires for us. Which means sloth can happen even when we are working so hard. Essentially, sloth is a failure to fulfill all of our basic duties, and while one duty of our human vocation is to work, another is to take leisure time.
A Netflixaholic may seem like the obvious answer for who is slothful, but so is a workaholic who doesn't make time for his family or for his God. We need both work and leisure to truly and effectively pursue God. But if sloth is this sneaky, how do we know when it is interfering with our relationship with Christ.
Does God, family, and work all receive their proper time?
Attending church, sharing family meals, and working hard are all important, But you need to be certain to give each thing its proper time and place in your life. Check in with your priorities. Are you treating them as thus? At its very core, sloth is simply not giving each everything its due time, which interferes with our ability to live fully in Christ.