Mr. Lazy Bones

as-seen-on-tv-logoAs much as it pains me, I have to face a cold, unvarnished truth about myself. I think Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said, “… and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32, NRSV).

The truth is… I have a pretty strong streak of LAZY in me.

I noticed this recently on two different occasions. Both involved unpleasant tasks I had to do. In both instances I put off doing those tasks as long as I possibly could. Then I feigned forgetfulness… “Oh! Sorry! I forgot about that!”

And in both cases, when I could avoid it no longer, I sought out some sort of labor-saving device to help with the chore. The first job was peeling and slicing apples for Joan’s famous apple pie. And so imagine my delight to discover a magical slicing/peeling machine there in the cupboard. Yes sir, just stick the apple on the little spikes and turn the crank! Perfectly peeled and sliced with nearly zero effort!

Invigorated by all the energy I had just saved I turned to my next appointment with drudgery: raking and bagging the leaves in my front yard.

One word: YUCK!

But then I remembered this device left behind by the people we bought our house from. In the first setting it is a blower. In setting #2 it is a gigantic vacuum cleaner/chopper combo. So you blow the leaves all into a pile on #1, then on #2 you suck them into a handy, shoulder-carried bag.

Quick, easy, and just the ticket for a lazy guy like me.

I probably shouldn’t, but I take some degree of solace in looking around and realizing I am not the only one in the world who has a giant case of the lazies. Just take a look at some of the products promoted on TV, specifically designed to “take the toil and misery out of daily life.”

  • Got a little too much padding around the middle? Forget diet and exercise! Just order the “Tummy Tuck Miracle Slimming System.”
  • Hate chopping up all that fruit and those vegetables? No problem… order your “One Second Slicer” right now. Operators are standing by.
  • Don’t relish the idea of getting up on that extension ladder to hang Christmas lights? (Uh, YES!). Just plug in the “Star Shower Laser Light” and dazzle your neighbors and light aircraft overhead with a spectacular display of festive light!

Please understand: I am all for labor saving devices. I would be the last to insist today’s dairy farmers go back to milking by hand, for example.

But sometimes I wonder if our zeal for saving steps and energy gets a little out of hand… to the point where we prize an instant result over the effort required to produce that result?

This sounds like the grumbling of an old man I realize, but that is the way I feel about video baseball, football, soccer, or basketball. No sweat or training required, just instant results.

We see evidence of that with the recent proliferation of “fake news” that is flooding social media outlets. I mean, why go to the trouble of checking facts and doing research when you can just put something on Facebook and say it is true?

Stereotypes and biases (racial, ethnic, religious, whatever) are examples of another, much more insidious kind of laziness. It is a laziness that says, “Why do the hard work of discovering the full humanity of that person? Why not just see what color their skin is, or who they love, or how they worship and then decide you know all there is to know about them?”

And if I am really going to fully “come clean” here I will need to admit that I sometimes find myself looking for a labor-saving device to help speed up my spiritual maturation process. “If only…” I pray, “… if only there was such a thing as the Tummy Tuck Miracle Slimming System to help melt away these persistent sinful tendencies of mine!”

Maybe the problem starts with my consumer orientation to faith… demanding that it produce a certain set of results in exchange for my devotion and energy. Because last I checked, Jesus never really offered a specific set of results and benefits that would accrue to his followers.

Actually, I take that back. He did talk about a specific set of results his disciples would receive for following. Beginning with Mark 8:34 he says, “… if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and the sake of the gospel will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?” (Mark 8:34-36, NRSV).

Yes… Jesus said it would be hard. He said there would be work and toil and unpleasantness and drudgery and probably pain, too. He said it would involve all of the things you and I spend so much money and creativity trying to avoid.


Know what else he said? To those who confess him as the Lord of their lives… even at the 11th hour like the thief on the other cross… he said, “… you will be with me in Paradise.”

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