Margarida F. Sarli works at the Ministerial Association as researcher and assistant at Shepherdess International.

Margarida F. Sarli, Editorial Coordinator for this section


"It is not spiritual laziness that will bring us near to God, but Christian devotion, personal piety, intelligent advancement in the knowledge of Christ. We shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness" EGW, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 5-1 7-6, "Filled With the Fruits of Righteousness" par. 10.

Scripture reading

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10

Suggested hymns

To God be the Glory                 Hymn No. 341

Love Divine                              Hymn No. 191

Offering prelude

A little girl who loved the Lord longed to share the message of salvation with those who had never hear it. So she contributed a penny to a missionary to help with the work of evangelizing the people of Burma. That small coin was all she had, but it was given from her heart. The worker on the foreign field was deeply touched by the child's earnestness and decided he would do the most he could with the money. After careful thought he purchased a Gospel tract and personally gave it to a young chieftain. Apparently the Christian did not know that the tribal leader was not educated well enough to read it. God instilled within the ruler a burning desire to know the meaning of the leaflet, and he traveled 250 miles to find someone who could translate it for him. After he heard the Gospel message, it wasn't long until the young chief was gloriously converted. Returning to his people, he told them what the Lord had done for his soul. Later he invited missionaries to come and preach to his entire village, and many tribesmen who heard the good news accepted the Savior. All this and probably much more resulted from one dedicated penny given in Christ's name by a little girl who wanted the lost to hear about Jesus!

Don't wait until you can do "great things" to start working for the Master. God can do wonders with dedicated little things.

Children's story . . . Learning from an ant

Lesson: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." Proverbs 6:6.

Some creatures do a lot of standing around or sitting or lying still. You've probably noticed the reptiles in the zoo. You can stare at an alligator or crocodile for minutes on end and it doesn't appear to move a muscle. In fact, it is so quiet that you feel sure that it must be dead.

Other creatures are always on the move, however. Look at a colony of ants. They are running this way and that, all intent on some business. Perhaps they are nurse ants, caring for the young, or soldier ants. Perhaps they are storing food for leaner days, carrying loads many times their own weight. Whatever the circumstances, they are never idling.

One writer tells of watching an ant hauling away a dead beetle. The beetle was many times its own size but that did not daunt the ant. It would climb up a blade of grass and pull, go down again, give the beetle a push, and use every means possible to get the burden to its destination. It didn't seem to know the meaning of the word discouragement.

A great naturalist, Sir John Lubbock, decided to put an ant under observation for a whole day. He himself watched it from six o'clock in the morning until nearly ten o'clock that night, and it never stopped working for a single minute.

The servant of the Lord tells us, "The ants teach lessons of patient industry, of perseverance in surmounting obstacles, of providence for the future" Education, p. 117. When we pray, let us ask God to help us to be industrious as the ants are.

Read what Solomon says about these little creatures in Proverbs 30:24, 25.


The Duty to Work

Thessalonians 3:6-10


A. Slothfulness is not a common word today. We use other words to describe the attitude of slothfulness. We speak of idleness, listlessness, lifelessness, apathy, indifference, goofing off, wasting time, good-for-nothing, sluggishness, procrastination, and laziness.

1. The sloth is a lethargic animal with coarse hair. It builds no nest or home, sleeps eighteen hours a day, and wakes very slowly. The sloth is so inactive that green algae grow in its hair.
2. Sloth permeates schoolwork, the marketplace, the home, friendship, and Christianity. Almost no area except leisure seems to be immune.

B. Laziness is soundly condemned in the Bible. Proverbs 21:25 says, "The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work" (NIV).

C. Our text is very explicit: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thess. 3:10 NIV).

Laziness is the neglect of duty

A. This is really a sin against us as much as it is a sin against society.

1. It shows the difference between the people you are and the person you could be.
2. Paul's letter to the people at Thessalonica indicates that while he was with them, he and his companions did work (2 Thess. 3:8-9).

B. God expects us to work.

1. It is our duty. When God put man in the Garden of Eden, He charged him to work and care for the garden (Gen. 2:15).
2. Laziness is the opposite of God's plan for mankind.

a. A child should learn minor chores that prepare him for major esponsibilities later.
b. A husband is to work at marriage, being a parent, and a job.
c. Likewise, a wife is to work at marriage, being a parent, and her home.

Laziness is a violation of Christian living

A. Some might ask, "How can doing nothing be a sin?"

1. In theology there are basically two kinds of sins: sins of commission and sins of omission.
2. For instance, if you do absolutely nothing, you will be lost. In the parable of the talents the servant who went and hid his talent in the ground was chastised because he did nothing with his talent.

B. Some Christians are slothful in their prayer life, Bible study, church attendance, witnessing, financial support, and Christian service.

C. The Christian should be preparing for the return of Jesus.

1. Five of the ten virgins failed to prepare for the return of the bridegroom because of laziness (Matt. 25:1-13).
2. Whatever else this parable may mean, it demonstrates that the Lord is going to come again, and we as Christians must prepare for His return.

Laziness is a threat to God's plan

A. God does not intend for a person to be idle.

1. The author of Proverbs draws on nature to illustrate God's plan for man. In Proverbs 6:6-11 he graphically draws the analogy of the ant as a picture of how diligent one should be about living.
2. The ant has no commander, overseer, or ruler per se, but still he knows how to work.

B. Mankind must do the same.

1. Welfare programs are wonderful for the disabled, infirm, and unfortunate in society.
2. Many souls are severely limited by physical, emotional, and mental handicaps that prevent them from working side by side with the healthy and able-bodied.
3. To reward laziness is sin.


A. Slothfulness is found in job performance, school, church, and politics.

1. Every Christian should do his or her best at all times. We should labor as though God were our employer (Eph. 6:5-8).
2. Jesus Christ has commanded us to be an active and effective witness for Him.

B. If you are not a Christian, I challenge you to serve and accept the only One who can bring joy to your work.

Illustration - Procrastination

An incident from the American Revolution illustrates what tragedy can result from procrastination. It is reported that Colonel Rahl, commander of the British troops at Trenton, New Jersey, was playing cards when a courier brought an urgent message stating that General George Washington was crossing the Delaware River. Rahl put the letter in his pocket and didn't bother to read it until the game was finished. Then, realizing the seriousness of the situation, he hurriedly tried to rally his men to meet the coming attack, but his procrastination was his undoing. He and many of his men were killed, and the rest of the regiment was captured. Nolbert Quayle said, "Only a few minutes' delay cost him his life, his honor, and the liberty of his soldiers. Earth's history is strewn with the wrecks of half-finished plans and unexecuted resolutions. Tomorrow' is the excuse of the lazy and the refuge of the incompetent."

Margarida F. Sarli, Editorial Coordinator for this section.

Margarida F. Sarli works at the Ministerial Association as researcher and assistant at Shepherdess International.