WHICH IS BETTER?
As President Abraham Lincoln said, “You can’t trust everything you read on the internet!” Therefore, I’m not sure whether Bill Gates actually did say it or not, but the claim is made that he once said, “I always choose for a lazy person to do a difficult job. Because he will find an easy way to do it!” This contrasts with the different approach, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it!” The question therefore is: Which is better? The lazy approach or the busy approach?
¶ Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.
While Bill Gates may assume that lazy people are incredibly smart people, I think they also deserve another compliment. Lazy people are often energetic people as well. In fact, many lazy people are so energetic, they can look downright busy!
I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
It is wrong to assume that all lazy people are inactive people. They can be very energetic. Laziness is thus not necessarily about the amount effort or activity involved. For example, riding a horse requires effort and can be a very effective means of transport. But not if the horse is a rocking horse! This is despite the effort involved to ride a rocking horse possibly being even more intense than riding an actual horse! Some very active and energetic people get quite offended if they are accused of being lazy.
Conversely though, we shouldn’t assume that the person doing nothing is necessarily a lazy person either.
Feel it no shame, at proper times, to be doing nothing.
F. W. Boreham, DRUMS OF DAWN
Laziness has more to do with a lack of effectiveness and appropriateness. Someone may be busy trying to scale a wall using a ladder. They may build a ladder, move it into position, test it, and vigorously go up and down it. But if it is the wrong type of ladder, or the wrong size ladder, or worse still, the wrong wall – they are being lazy, despite their hard work and busyness! Diligence, not busyness, is the opposite of laziness. Diligence strives for effectiveness and appropriateness. This requires self-discipline and persistence. It does what must be done – what has to be done – even when we are tired, afraid, uncomfortable, or uninformed. Laziness is rarely prepared to make sacrifices in order to be effective. Diligence nearly always, if not always, involves having to make sacrifices.
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
I know many good people who all work very hard, but don’t seem to be very effective. They always seem to be running out of time. They are forever misplacing things. Their solution would be to relearn how they do everything. Diligence is therefore not merely a matter of working as long and as hard as they can. Rather, it is finding out the best way to do something then working as hard as possible to do that.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
So which is better: lazy or busy? If someone is considered ‘lazy’ simply because they are not busy, when in fact it is merely because they are efficient and effective (and consequently have time to do nothing), this type of lazy would be better. But if someone was ‘busy’ (and also efficient and effective), it may simply be that they are in a season of demand whereby they are helping many others. In such circumstances, busy is better.
And translating this stand-off into the spiritual arena we can soon see that spiritual depth comes from resting in the finished work of Christ for our salvation. In this sense, we are saved by works – it’s just that it’s not our own, but Christ’s. Yet diligence and hard-work is also required for spiritual depth. The Apostle Peter told believers that they needed to be diligent to be found in Christ (refer to 1Peter 1:10), and the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that they needed to work diligently to continually be beholding Christ (2Cor. 3:18).
¶ Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
Second Peter 3:14
This kind of diligence is the same as other forms of diligence. It strives for effectiveness (Philemon 6) and giving appropriate glory to God. It’s the kind of diligence which makes sacrifices in order to practice the spiritual disciplines which are deepening for a soul and glorifying to God (daily Bible reading, prayer journaling, witnessing, Sunday worship, fasting, giving, and contemplation). This is better.
Pastor Andrew Corbett