I just don’t understand the new internet obsession everyone has been having with sloths. Especially the trend to compare other creatures, people, and objects to everyone’s apparently new favorite lazy mammal. Who wants to be compared to a tropical animal that looks like someone on sedatives hanging upside down from a tree?
Sloth is also mentioned in a much different light when it is named among the other seven deadly sins. The definition of sloth is a reluctance to work or make an effort. Sound like anyone you know? Our culture seems to be absolutely riddled nowadays with a big lack of a work ethic. We’ve all met people that meet the sloth mold. That one person you work with you who pretends to be sick so they can go home early? Or the guy who seems to be near tears when he’s never scheduled, but once he get more hours is constantly calling off.
Sloth can appear in our lives in many ways other than not working hard at a minimum wage job. It can be not studying as hard as you need to for your Chemistry test because you feel like trying to beat your high score on Candy Crush instead. It can be not truly giving you best effort at a sporting event because you have natural ability and sometimes it’s easier just to coast. It’s not putting any effort into a friendship or relationship because it makes YOU feel uncomfortable or sometimes they dare to not be perfect. Sloth is now starting to look an awful lot like selfishness.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not man. Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” Colossians 3:23-24.
I think sometimes we get stuck in mundane minimum wage jobs that we hate, relationships we are dying to escape with a family member, and attending a school where putting in our best effort doesn’t always translate over into As. You might be thinking right about now who even cares? If I’m still putting in some effort I’m good, right? Wrong. Here’s an example.
Say you have a job at a retail store this summer. On the weekends you find yourself constantly surrounded by foreign people who keep yelling S at the top of the lungs in your face to convey what size they need. Say one of them flags you down and asks you to get them a size in the midst of an afternoon of craziness. You are swamped so instead of going to the back to check, you wander around a bit and then inform them you don’t have the size. No one gets hurt and you have time to put away some more go backs from the fitting room. No one saw, so your reputation as a good worker hasn’t been tarnished, but God saw.
This is one of those times that God knowing our every move isn’t comforting. God alone knows when we’ve truly put in our best efforts and the times when we’ve slothed it up a bit. Just like the verse above says, we are serving HIM, not our cranky bosses, not our callous teachers, and not society. When we start believing that everything we do is a reflection of God, it becomes easier to put aside our cranky attitudes in order to serve Him.
Being hard workers in every aspect of our lives can really help to point other people to Christ. There are definitely still many days where I want to passive aggressively give a Canasian the wrong size just because they’re annoying me, but then I remember that my work is a reflection of me, which becomes a reflection of God.
So the next time you are debating cutting a corner during the day, just remember that God has always given us His best without fail, don’t you believe He deserves the same?