On hearing the idiom “busy bodies” one can easily think of another idiom “as busy as a bee”. Yet, the meanings greatly differ. Whereas being as busy as a bee implies working hard, totally full of activity and ready on the go, being a busy body refers to a nosy, meddling person, who is very interested in what other people say and do. Busybodies or lazybones are undesirable.
This introduction ushers us into St Paul’s concern about Christians who are leading an undisciplined life. “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who leads an undisciplined life that is not in keeping with the tradition you received from us. Yet we hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: if a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-11).
How about sloth or idleness? Sloths are known to be mammals noted for slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rain forests of South America and Central America. They are, in other words, lazy creatures that do very little other than sleep all day.
A deadly sin
Sloth is one of the seven capital sins in Catholic teachings. Capital sins, also known as “deadly sins”, are those which have the most serious impact on spiritual development. Sloth is habitual laziness; the avoidance of physical or spiritual work, even though they would be able to do it. Diligence or being industrious is the opposite of sloth.
Despite some positive developments in the statistics, Uganda remains among the poorest in the world. This is due to lack of employment or mere sloth. With such good weather and arable soil, every adult should be able to grow some food and cash crops. The politically engineered move for urbanisation, coupled with land-grabbing, has, however, greatly incapacitated many to till the productive land. The “boda-boda” economy hinders the youth from spending their productive energy as expected.
Unemployment is defined as a situation where someone of working age is not able to get a job but would like to be in full-time employment. Unemployment can be caused by foreign competition. Educated unemployment, especially among the youth, arises when a large number of educated people are unemployed or unable to secure a job. Unemployment may lead to homelessness.
It may be against this background that the “Idle and disorderly” Act has been abolished in Uganda. The Act criminalised wandering persons, commercial sex workers, street dwellers, street children, drug users, beggars and hawkers, among others. Statistics show that these offences are hard to prove and in most cases there is no evidence from police to warrant their sanction for prosecution.
Nevertheless, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. High unemployment can cause social problems such as crime; if people have less disposable income than before, it is very likely that crime levels within the economy will increase. High levels of unemployment can be causes of civil unrest, in some cases leading to revolution, and particularly totalitarianism. Integration of skilling with education should be the government’s top priority.
God disallows slothfulness, but encourages being industrious as well as supporting the sick and afflicted. Voluntary work or charity or undertaking work without pay, can, eventually, earn one a regular job and is definitely rewarding from God. If left un-checked sloth results in eternal punishment in Hell. “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap,” says St. Paul in Galatians 6:9.
Laziness in the Bible
God’s Word makes it very clear that we are instructed to work hard and put our best effort forward. The Bible, especially in the wisdom-filled book of Proverbs, speaks often of the cause and effect relationship of hard work and rewards as well as laziness and ruin. Colossians 3:23 tells us a Christian should “work with all their heart as working for the Lord”. Our work is probably one of the greatest testimonies of our faith.
Laziness has no place in the character of a follower of Jesus. Read what the Bible has to say about being lazy and the heart breaking consequences of having a lazy lifestyle.