Introduction 

READ MT. 25:14-30 

The master in this parable accuses the servant who hid the talent as wicked and lazy or slothful.

Sloth has been listed as one of the seven deadly sins. They are called capital sins because they destroy a person’s compassion and tender heart towards God and their neighbour. Sloth has been defined as both spiritual and actual apathy or laziness – putting off what God asks us to do, or not doing anything at all. It is derived from the Greek word akedia, which literally means “absence of caring.” Or in local terms – I DON’T GIVE A STUFF.

This attitude, not just in this parable but also in the one previous and after (sheep & goats) enrages the Master, who is obviously a picture of Jesus Himself.

Why do you think that is?

Sloth in the most simplistic terms can be described as a lack of passion.

The more I look into it the more I see that Sloth, in its true meaning is more than just laziness, and work-aholism is not the opposite of sloth either, in fact it can be a contributor of it. Sloth, it seems to me, is a malady of the soul that you and I will regularly encounter when we loose vision and perspective. Nothing pushes us on any more and we despair. This season can become an ingrained habit that becomes hard to shake. But I also believe that is the very reason the Gospel is such extreme good news.

The Origin of Sloth 

Boredom, it seems, is at the root of sloth. Boredom that comes from a loss of perspective, when nothing matters. Often fuelled by philosophies of atheism that have swept our western culture.

“Sloth belongs to non-existence, when everything returns to nothing, when our very existence becomes a burden to us, when we no longer delight in what we see and touch and feel around us. Sloth is undoing of creation, a denial of the goodness of the world around us.” – Graham Tomlin (7 deadly sins).

Do you think boredom lies at the root of Sloth? Discuss the evidence in our culture?

Cures for Sloth 

  1. Recognise that there is a God!

    How we view God will determine how we live our lives.

    People have all sorts of pictures of God. People like Nietschke and modern day Dawkins would say God is a figment of our imagination, others, like this man in the parable see him as severe and harsh, still others see him as a teddy bear that exists to meet our whims and fancies.

    A first step to cure sloth is to recognise God's existence, and have a correct understanding of WHO He is

    – Discuss this.

  2. Recognise the way to combat Sloth is to discover Purpose

    If boredom lies at the base of sloth, and combating it is found in getting an accurate picture of who God is, then we also need to begin to live our lives with purpose the way God intended. How do we do that?

    - Reflection and imitation of the life of Christ
    The more we study the life and words of Jesus the more we are inspired to follow a Leader who lived a life of purpose. His purpose was the Kingdom, and He calls those who follow him to find purpose in pursuit of the kingdom.

    Matt 6:33
    33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    Discuss this thought - what does it look like for us to find purpose in pursuit of God's Kingdom?

  3. Be prepared to work hard

    Work was not an after-thought - God created us to work.
    Thomas Edison said: Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration
    He also said: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work!

    Purpose does not come to us simply with good ideas. Purpose does not fall into our lap – it is what we do with our lives every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every week, of every year – Purpose comes to us by work. Rolling up our sleeves and facing often the boring routine of simple hard work to see something done.

    Discipline is the difference between those who see fruit of labour and those who dream and drift their lives through. Discipline – the ritual and rhythm of life, often discarded by people just as they are on the brink of breakthrough. Discipline and commitment are the essence of hard work. You cannot see true purpose without it.

    Discuss how work contributes to a sense of purpose in your own personal life.

  4. Make room for what inspires you

    In the Film “Chariots of Fire” which is based on the true story of 2 university students and athletes preparing for the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Eric Liddell, whom they called the flying Scotsman is a Christian who is preparing to work as a missionary in China. He also loves to run. In a brilliant scene where his sister, Jenni, is concerned about him spending so much time on the running and not on studies or God’s work, he says: “I believe that God made me for a purpose... (the mission), but He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure."

    Eric modelled a life dedicated to God, and someone wholly given to what inspired him. He also displayed that dualism should not be a part of a Christian’s life – all our life is holy and gives God pleasure – not just a bit of it.

    When we live our lives as "unto the Lord" every part of our life is sacred

    DISCUSS. How does this thought change the way we live and view purpose?

CONCLUSION 

Sloth is a sin that takes a hold when we loose perspective of WHO God is and who we are in Him. It is when life becomes boring because we no longer recognise that life and all we are and have is a gift from His hand. Purpose is found when we seek to imitate Christ. Loving God, loving people – using the gifts and passions and talents he has put in our hand. Recognising we are ambassadors of good news and healing to a hurting world.
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