Key verse: Col.3:23- "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.." (ESV)
The book of Proverbs is loaded with blunt remarks against laziness. Observe: Prov.19:15- "Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger." According to Prov.26:13- "The lazy man says 'There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets.' " Then, in v.15, we are informed: "The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; it wearies him to bring it to his mouth." That is some major-league laziness!
We read in Prov.13, the start of v.4- "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing." A person may set high goals---and then continually avoid all effort to achieve those goals. In fact, some individuals believe their ‘career’ is to live off the government and the Church on a permanent basis (I’ve written more extensively about this in the article ‘Selective Benevolence Rationale’).
"Even when we were with you, we commanded you this, if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." (2 Thess.3:10). Paul describes here a persistent refusal to work. Granted, obtaining and keeping a job can be a big challenge in today’s competitive economic arena. That said---All Christians should remember that the trait of laziness is not admirable. Whether employed or not, Christians are summoned by God to be industrious, diligent people. It is one thing to search for work and remain unemployed; it is quite another thing to reject all opportunities for fruitful labor and personal productivity.
Notice the wording of Col.3:23- "Whatever you do" instead of "Whatever you never get around to doing"; "Work heartily" rather than "Heartily attempt to shun every possibility of work." Furthermore, this sentence comes shortly after the directive of v.17- “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” This presupposes that you will do some work or activity which will honor God in the Name of His Son.
The ideal is put forth in 1 Thess.4:9-12- “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to lead a quiet life, and to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (NKJV)