“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ezekiel: 16:49
The prophet Ezekiel in urging Israel to repent compares the sins of Sodom to those of Jerusalem. As I read this, the phrase which popped out for me was “abundance of idleness.” Benjamin Franklin discussed this topic in Poor Richard’s Alamanac, 1758.
“… I will tell thee My Friend, what Poor Richard says, Employ thy Time well if thou meanest to gain Leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a Minute, throw not away an Hour. Leisure is Time for doing something useful; this Leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a Life of Leisure and a Life of Laziness are two Things. Do you imagine that Sloth will afford you more Comfort than Labour? No, for as Poor Richard says, Trouble springs from Idleness,and grievous Toil from needless Ease.”
When I consider the time I spend in idle pursuits I certainly have room to improve. As I considered Ezekiel’s call to repentance this week I made an extra effort to spend time on activities that benefit others rather than my own entertainment. As the week closes I can truthfully say I feel spiritually richer.
Just a quick note, I certainly don’t feel that having plenty (a fulness of bread) is bad. It is, however, when it leads to pride and idleness. If we don’t change voluntarily we’ll be encouraged to change by the negative impacts these traits have on society and our economic well being over the long term. We only have to read history to see this.