"A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth."
The word translated sluggard is the Hebrew word asel which means sluggish, lazy. We might say that this is a person given to procrastination.
Solomon is trying to point out that this impulse to put things off when it takes root can affect everything in a person's life. You simply cannot allow the natural, selfish impulse to put things off to become the lord of your life.
Everyone is born with selfishness since Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden. One of the manifestations of that selfishness is this impulse to be slow, lazy, or put things off until a better time. We all feel it, and we all must battle against it. Some, however, embrace this impulse and it becomes the dominant impulse of their lives. When this is true, they are sluggards – according to the Bible. It completely changes the trajectory of their lives. What they could have accomplished with effort, God's grace, and the help of others, they do not even attempt. They live well below their potential. They hide their talents, ideas, and good works rather than go to the trouble of working them out. Jesus has very harsh words for the person who hides his talents rather than returning their gifts with interest to the master.
One day we will stand before Jesus, and He will ask us what we did with this one and only life that He gave us. What did we do with this talent; what did we do with this idea; what did we do with this gift He gave? Our answer should be, "Lord, I prayed and asked you for strength and did these things with that talent or gift or idea."
In this proverb, Solomon uses the extreme visual of the person who is so lazy and given to procrastination that they will not even finish eating. They just put it off. They grow weary of finishing eating. In this way God is highlighting the major selfish fault of the sluggard. They do not finish things – even important vital things. They put off what they find difficult or complicated. Do not give into this impulse. Yes, life can be hard. Yes, life can be difficult. Yes, hard conversations and unpleasant assignments come your way. But you must do them. It is selfish to just deny that they should be done. It is a fool's impulse that suggests that you can do them some other time when you feel like it. It is sinful to hide from your responsibilities.
God uses Solomon to expose the dominant characteristics of the sluggard. They don't finish what they should finish. They put off till a better time. They move slowly to complete what they should finish right away. This is a slow death and a life-killing impulse. Don't fall for its siren song.