Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,
and an idle person will suffer hunger.
Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life;
he who despises his ways will die.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will repay him for his deed.
Slothfulness trifles away opportunities that will never return. This is its seriousness and its tragedy (15). The verse implies the failure to appreciate the value of time. This is as true in the spiritual realm as in the natural. To fail, through laziness or complacency, to bestir oneself to procure suitable sustenance for the soul will bring want and hunger and spiritual famine. Paul says 'Redeem the time' - a very pointed and significant phrase. To 'redeem' means 'to buy back', and it is a question of buying time from other things (often at considerable cost) if we are going to have time for spiritual things. This is a price that some are not prepared to pay. The emphasis in 16a is similar to that in 8, and in 16b 'shall die' is better rendered 'shall be put to death'. It is not the natural process that is being referred to, but an act of judgment. We have to reckon with the Judge, when we neglect the things of the Spirit. There is a direct link between 17 and our Lord's words in Matt 25:40, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these....' The implications of the verse are considerable. The silver and the gold are the Lord's, and the cattle on a thousand hills, yet He puts Himself in the position of the poor. He is down there with them, in their need, identifying Himself with their poverty. 17b speaks of faithful recompense, rather than getting back what one has given.