Laziness is an irritant to hard workers

The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.

“As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him.” (Proverbs 10:26)

I had the privilege to work in an R.J. Reynolds factory during the 1970s. They had a program where employees’ children who were in college could work for the summer. My job was to help put together “hogsheads,” huge barrels that held 1,000 lbs. of tobacco. I worked with Terry, a young man who started at RJR right out of high school. He was friendly enough to me, but I could tell he was checking out this “college boy” to see if I was going to be able to handle the work. When I first started, I was slow and clumsy with the barrels. I had to wrestle each one into submission to get the pins in the sides. It was hard for me to pick up the round bottoms that we would throw into each hogshead before we rolled them over to the production line. And when I tried to roll one of the hogsheads to Terry, who was waiting for them 30 or 40 feet away, my efforts for the first several weeks were pitiful. There was no telling where the barrels would end up when I let them go. We would angle them toward us and roll them like one would a garbage can, so they stayed upright and tilted, spiraling to their destination. 

Terry was patient with it, and me, and it paid off. 

By the end of the summer I could keep up with Terry as we put the hogsheads together. I could throw the lids (which weighed 15 lbs. and were 48 inches in diameter) across three rows of hogsheads so they fell neatly into their targets. I could roll a hogshead from one end of the factory floor to the other and even learned how to spin them right into the empty slots. Hard work and a good teacher had produced an employee who contributed to the effort, and I went back to college at the end of the summer satisfied that I had learned something, grown in character and made some new friends. 

There was another college boy working at the factory one of those summers. I heard the guys talking about him in the break room one day. 

“I tell you what, that is about the height of laziness,” one of the older men said, between swigs of a Pepsi. “Did you see ‘college boy’ out there on the floor?” 

They were talking about the other college kid. He had been given the job of painting the guard rails in the factory that separated the floor area from the walkway around the perimeter. He was observed that day lying on his side on the floor, slowly moving his paintbrush to cover the guardrails with a neon yellow spread. It took him until lunchtime to paint ten feet of rail. At times it was hard to tell he was alive, his movements were so slow. 

“I tell you what, if my boy was that sorry,” the man continued, his eyes flashing, “I wouldn’t let him out in public. That college boy is pathetic.” The older man continued to complain and was joined by others in the room, who shook their heads in disgust. 

Laziness may not be a deadly communicable disease, but it sure does irritate everyone who is exposed to it!

Prayer: “Lord, I have a natural tendency to want to rest when I should be working. Help me, Lord, to do whatever my hand finds to do with all my might!”

Action: Tackle that project or chore that your wife has put on your honey-do list and you have been putting off.

Take me back to


About C4FIC

The Council for Family-Integrated Churches exists to promote reverence for the gospel in order to reform the church and restore the home as an embassy of the kingdom of God.
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