"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." Hebrews 6:12 (NIV)
I am rereading a book that a friend and I wrote more than 15 years ago on pride and humility. I am often being convicted by my own words (and his). I just read there how pride and humility respond so differently to correction or admonishment. And then I look at this statement: “We don’t want you to become lazy…” And I ask, how did “the Hebrews” respond to this? How do we respond to it?
The Greek word has a bit of tough sound – nóthros. It can mean: dull, sluggish, slothful, lazy, inert, listless, or lackadaisical. So try to hear this: “We don’t want you to become listless and slothful.” Think of it being said to you by someone who knows you (because this writer did know them.) How do you respond?
“Why would you say that to me?”
“What kind of person do you think I am?”
“That hurts my feelings.”
The writer was sending these words to people who were bright and talented and by this time ought to be developing into teachers (5:12). But, all the more reason they could have been prideful and defensive. We don’t know how they responded. We are challenged to know even what city they were in, let alone what was the outcome of this letter.
But this much we can be sure of: If they did respond with pride and dug in there, they never came out of the spiritual doldrums; they didn’t continue in faith and in patience and; after a great start, they sadly never inherited what was promised.Whatever, they did, it is done. But thank God, we have the opportunity to hear the Word, be humble and receive grace.