Don’t Waste Your Time: The Problem with Idleness

For the last year or so, we have been confined to our homes and personal spaces. The conditions of a national lockdown have left us without places to go or activities to keep us occupied and some without employment. As a result, we may have fallen into a state of idleness. Idleness is a condition of being inactive, more so doing nothing meaningful. As the country prepares to ease restrictions, and leave lockdown, we must become aware of how idleness has been present in our lives and the impact it has had on our daily life. How do we negate idleness and what is the best use of our time? 

Don’t waste your time

Idleness can lead to fruitless and frivolous activities where we can spend hours doing nothing with no intended purpose. With the shortage of opportunities to pursue extra hobbies, there were moments during this lockdown that I lacked the desire to focus on meaningful pursuits. Instead time was spent on frivolous activities with little to no purpose – endlessly scrolling through feeds, constantly binge-watching TV shows and movies, engaging in conversations as distractions. 

With every activity, there is a potential to be idle, if we do not understand the underlying intention of our actions. Even with work, we can be idle when we do not put our full focus and attention into the task we are undertaking (2 Thess. 3:11).

Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from home to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not

1 Timothy 5:13

The problem with idleness is, as a result, we can find ourselves in time-wasting situations or at worst, sinful ones. Therefore, it is important that we are careful to evaluate what we do, in light of our purpose as Christians. There is a great commission (Matt. 28:19) and our time on earth is finite (Matt. 25:13). We do not know when the Lord will return so we need to take advantage of every opportunity. Although the environment of lockdown may have been conducive to idleness, we can ensure that going forward we are making the best use of our time, for the glory of God.

What else can we do?

Making the best use of your days because the days are evil

Ephesians 5:25

Truthfully, there is always something that we can be doing with our time. After all, there is a time for everything (Eccl. 3:1), including a time to work and a time to rest. When it is time to work, we know that the work we do is not to man but unto God. And in everything we do, we do in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 10:31). Therefore we can be more intentional with our work and better use our time.

Here are some ideas on how to make use of our time:

Working with our hands – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecc. 9:10)

  • Any work we have been tasked with, we should ensure we are attentive.
  • Using any of the numerous gifts and talents God has given us

Sharing the good news – “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42)

  • Share the gospel to people who don’t know it through outreach
  • Having conversations with friends or family

Volunteering -“And we urge you, brothers [and sisters], admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14

  • Help at the local food bank, especially during this period
  • Volunteer with a charitable organisation
  • Serve in church or other Christian communities

A higher call

On the surface, idleness looks like laziness. However, we are all at risk of idleness if we do not consciously evaluate the activities and pastimes we engage in. There is a greater purpose to our existence, as Christians, which is to go out into the world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Naturally, we can live quiet and peaceful lives without doing anything for Christ but that is not the purpose of the Christian life. 

This is a call to stop being idle, to pick up our cross (Mar. 8:34) and to run with endurance the race that has been set before us (Heb. 12:1).


  • Oluwaseyi Sobogun

    A lover of Jesus and spoken word, Oluwaseyi is passionate about people finding their purpose in Christ. She is currently in her final year of an apprenticeship in Architecture. When Seyi is not studying or working, she likes to read a good book with a cup of Chai.

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