Introduction. In this season of Lent we are exploring the so call seven deadly sins. But to avoid the implication that other sins aren’t deadly we are calling them the seven serious sins. Sloth, what it is and isn’t. How did this sin make the big seven? What’s wrong with a nice nap, or sitting on a beach with a cool drink or looking forward to a day off or a round of golf to relieve the stress of work? All work and no play makes for a dull existence. Of the seven serious sins, this may be the most misunderstood. What it isn’t. Being still in a noisy and chaotic world is not sloth. We need to withdraw and take time to rest and reflect. It’s Biblical to be still and know He is God. Jesus withdrew from busyness. Sabbath is not sloth, it’s also Biblical. God commands us to rest from our work. Sleep is not necessarily sloth. God created us needing to sleep. It’s one of His ways of humbling us and reminding us how dependent we are. It’s necessary so our work can be fruitful. Recreation or play is not sloth. There is a time to play, to laugh, to enjoy God’s good gifts and pleasures in life. Goofing off now and then is not the same as laziness. Retirement is not necessarily sloth. There is a season when our main vocation may be done, and we enter a different season. We can still be useful and productive and glorify God. What it is. Sloth has many faces and goes by many names. Sloth is apathy, indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern. If sloth had been the original sin, we might all still be in paradise. Our modern mantra for years has been “whatever.” Whatever, don’t care, not my monkeys, not my circus. Now the new whatever is “meh.” Sloth is procrastination. This is the Round Tuit sin, I’ll get around to it. This is the half-way sin, where we give up early, just quite, don’t care anymore. Our half-hearted efforts end with the first sign of difficulty or resistance. Sloth has been called the noon time devil, the early afternoon sin. We have talked about how one sin leads to another which leads to another. King David’s first sin may have been sloth, not doing what he should have been doing. “In the spring of the year, when kings go off to war, David stayed at his palace, and late one lazy afternoon he got off his couch. Sloth led to lust, lust led to anger, anger led to murder, murder led to pride, and pride led to his fall. Desire leads to sin and sin leads to death. Sloth is a dangerous sin.
To start off on the right foot, let’s talk about hope and the advent of hope. Hope is a wonderful thing. We are hopeful about a lot of things. How many of you hope you don’t get the flu this season? How many of you hope the Seahawks win the Super Bowl? How many of you students hope to do well on your assignments and tests? How many of you hope you get a raise in the next year? How many of you hope to lose a little weight, maybe after the holidays? A farmer plows in hopes of a harvest. A student studies in hopes of good grades. We practice in hopes of playing well. We take medicine in hopes of getting well. We court and date in hopes of getting married. We save in hopes of purchasing something or retiring. We hope we get what we want for Christmas. This is hope in the conventional sense. It’s a desire for something good in the future that is uncertain. This is hope as the world knows it and as we all have experienced it. It may not happen, it may be short lived, who knows? On Thursday I hoped for a great feast with my family. That happened. Yesterday some of you hoped the Cougars would win, but they didn’t. I hope the Packers win today, but who knows. I hope my preparation for this sermon about hope will be helpful to someone who is struggling with hope or hopelessness. In the normal course of the day and week and year, we all think about, talk about and feel this kind of hope in a million different ways, small and large. This is conventional hope. The hope that the Bible is concerned with is of a completely different sort. It’s important that we get this at the outset or we will miss something very important. From the Biblical perspective the hope of the world, in the end, is no hope. The reason for this is because the world is without God.