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Even though we live in the city, we have a garden. It's not too big - just a few extra fresh vegetables. But it seems that every year or so, we have to compete for who is going to get the vegetables first: us, or the slugs.
Now slugs are slimy little creatures that move very slo-o-owly across the garden, leaving a slime path wherever they go. They look something like snails, but without a shell. They may be interesting in their own little way (especially to a person who likes biology), but for most people, they are just gross, disgusting slime creatures.
It is the slug's slowness that gives them a connection to the Bible. In many translations of the Bible, one of the words used to describe a lazy person is "sluggard." (Other translations may use words such as, "lazy" or "slothful," or other words which have a similar meaning.)
How bad is laziness? How bad is being a sluggard? The book of Proverbs tells us that a lazy person is as bad as someone who goes around destroying things (Proverbs 18:9). You see, it is not only sin when you do bad things, but it is also sin when you don't do good things (James 4:17). In a New Testament parable, Jesus describes a lazy person as a wicked person (Matthew 25:26).
A sluggard always seems to have an excuse for not doing things. And if he can't find an excuse, he will invent one. "I might get run over by a car! I might be hit by a meteor, if I step outside!" (Compare to Proverbs 22:13) He would rather stay in bed all day (Proverbs 26:14) - or be a "couch potato" in front of a television. If he could, he'd be too lazy to even feed himself! (Proverbs 26:15) He thinks he is so wise (Proverbs 26:16), yet even ants are wiser - and could teach him, if he would just pay attention! (Proverbs 6:6+)
Because he is so lazy, his desires are never satisfied, and he doesn't even seem to know why! Yet the reason is quite simple: he doesn't reap the benefits of hard work just because he isn't willing to do the work! (Proverbs 20:4)
So what good is a sluggard? Not much. But there is one thing that the rest of us can learn from him: We can observe what we are not to be like (Proverbs 24:30-34). We need to remember that God made slugs to be slow, but he did not make people to act like "sluggards."
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Can you find some other verses in the Bible that talk about lazy people, or sluggards? What do they teach you? What did you learn from this "lesson from the garden"?
Here is a humorous definition of a slug: "A slug is a snail that is so slow... that its shell got impatient and walked away!" Let's not be like a slug!
Remember that garden slugs do accomplish something, even if they do it slowly. Otherwise, they wouldn't be a threat to my garden! (In this matter, they could probably be used to illustrate the word "perseverance.") They do have a role in creation, even if I don't know what it is! In contrast, human "slugs" don't accomplish anything good, and they don't have a legitimate role in creation - at least until they repent of their sin, and begin to do something beneficial.
Dennis Hinks © 1999