You would never call yourself lazy. But, would you call yourself intentional in all areas? Here's the deal: read this post. Why? Because sloth is about more than laziness. I'm convinced that sloth is the sin of comfort. It's as simple as the teen with a messy room and as complex as the workaholic so engulfed in his work that he's unintentional at home. In this post, I'll examine what the sin is, how it plays out as a dad and how you can eliminate it.
You need to know we wrote a full eBook called 7 Deadly Sins of a Disengaged Dad eBook because there's a lot to cover for each sin. More than we can cram into a series of blog posts. But for now, let's look at sloth.
What is sloth?
Sloth defined is the reluctance to work or make an effort. It's laziness. But more to the point—it's comfort. You're lazy because you're comfortable. Sloth is often unseen. Many dads tell us they feel like failures. This sin will have you not taking action. I’ve heard it said, “Delayed obedience is disobedience.” While this phrase may seem like playing semantics, I think it can hold a key to unlocking some things for the dads trapped in the sin of sloth. Sometimes, simple action is required on your part. Do something. Learn. Repeat.
How does sloth show up in a dad’s life?
The disengaged dad says: “I’ll jump in when things are on fire.”
Sloth is the essence of the disengaged dad. From apathy, carelessness, the whole “ask your mom” mentality and the approach to discipleship that says, “Doesn’t the pastor ever teach on that?” This dad’s waiting for everyone else to do his work.
In my years of working with dads, I tend to see these two types the most. You probably aren't either one of these. But, still, read them and so you'll know other dads' issues.
1. The Lazy Dad. The Bible is clear on the lazy dad. Don’t work? You shouldn’t eat. If you’re lazy, you’re basically a disease. Think about how this dad might approach his wife, kids, his church and his community. This guy has the I'll-sit-here-and-be-fed mentality. For this dad, God calls you to something more. From how you use your time, your money and your job, God makes clear that He cares about you being intentional.
2. The Working Dad. The slothfulness in this dad is tougher to spot. He’s bringing home the bacon. The world outside his home sees him as good. He may even get compliments on his work effort. Oh, but if others really knew. This dad has sold his birthright for the golden calf of work. He appears to not be slothful. But in reality, he’s slothful in many of the most important areas of his life. Be careful not to overwork in one area just to be slothful in another.
If working long hours is your thing, could that be greed creeping up on you? Funny how, at Manhood Journey, we don't have a ton of dads calling in asking us, "Man, I spend too much quality time with my kids. So much that I don't get my work done. What should I do?" Chasing money is often easier than chasing kids. But we'll get to greed soon enough. It’s easier to win friends and influence people who don’t live with you. Let’s be careful that we’re not working hard just to coast when it comes to the wife and kids.
The disengaged dad says: “I’ll jump in when things are on fire.”
How can a dad eliminate the sin of sloth?
I'm not giving you three precious bullet points and a poem for killing the sin of sloth. You're too slothful to do three points anyway. Relax, I'm kidding. But seriously, there’s one strategy.
Learn to be intentional in every aspect of your life. That’s it. We can get at killing this sin by working and not being lazy. But note, there’s more to it than being busy. A three-year old can say no to stuff. We need to say yes to the right things.
I dig into more detail in the full eBook, but I use the Five-F’s model (below) to keep track of my goals. Pick your own model and go with it. Do what works. Change stuff up. It's a process. You can make adjustments as you experience what works and what doesn’t. This model helps me place my goals in mental buckets in order of priority. The trick is the find a daily, weekly, and monthly rhythm to these five things.
The Five-F's I use are:
The secret sauce is in only making one goal for each of the categories that is SMART. I didn’t create this idea, but I find it helpful.
- Time bound
My problem is in creating too many goals. So, pick the roll-up goal. The most important goal that, if you nail it, will help all the other goals within the category.
For example, the Five-F’s model is like this:
- Faith: Read the Bible every day.
- Family: Kiss my wife and look my kids in the eyes—seeking to listen every day.
- Fitness: Weigh X by X Date.
- Finance: Save X amount by X date.
- Fun: Everything in the house in-its-place-organized by X date.
These goals are in my iPhone Reminders app. I have to click them for them to get off my app daily. Some days I lie to myself and mark them off when I haven't completed it. But at the least, I'm reminded of the goal. My point? Write your goals down. Add them to your calendar. Do whatever helps you remember them. But the goal is to be intentional otherwise you leave room for the sin of sloth. The disengaged dad isn’t living with purpose for God. He lets life happen to him.
As we put off the sin of laziness and sloth, let’s put on work and diligence.
Scripture for eliminating sloth
The slacker craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent is fully satisfied. —Proverbs 13:4
There is profit in all hard work, but endless talk leads only to poverty. —Proverbs 14:23
But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. —1 Timothy 5:8
Prayer for eliminating sloth
God, You never stop loving me. Thank You for never sleeping and never slumbering on my behalf. Please help me be intentional in You. Help me love You and serve others as You would direct me. Amen.
All sin kills something. What is sloth killing in your life? Biblical fatherhood recognizes the sin of sloth. Fight sloth in your heart. Fight sloth in your home. What your child sees in you will be replicated. Be the example that maybe you didn’t have growing up. Be a godly father for your child.
We dig deeper into the 7 Deadly Sins of a Disengaged Dad in the full eBook.
For each sin, in the full eBook, we help you:1. Define the sin.
The deadly sin of sloth is there for the taking. But, so is God’s grace. You can be a godly father who leads without regrets.
Question > On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being, “I’m intentional to the minute.” and 10 being, “I skipped this chapter because I’m lazy.” where would you rank yourself? If you need to talk, email me or tweet @ManhoodJourney.
This post is part of an ongoing series based on the new eBook 7 Deadly Sins of a Disengaged Dad.