Having considered the many and numerous failures in serving the Lord, in his Words to Winners of Souls Horatius Bonar identifies the third and fourth of 14 specific sins that we must confess, that of being selfish and slothful:
We have been selfish. We have shrunk from toil, difficulty and endurance, counting not only our lives dear unto us, but even our temporal ease and comfort. “We have sought to please ourselves,” instead of “pleasing everyone his neighbor, for his good to edification.” We have not borne “one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” We have been worldly and covetous. We have not presented ourselves unto God as “living sacrifices,” laying ourselves, our lives, our substance, our time, our strength, our faculties—our all—upon His altar. We seem altogether to have lost sight of this self-sacrificing principle on which even as Christians, but much more as ministers, we are called upon to act. We have had little idea of anything like sacrifice at all. Up to the point where a sacrifice was demanded, we may have been willing to go, but there we stood; counting it unnecessary, perhaps calling it imprudent and unadvised, to proceed further. Yet ought not the life of every Christian, especially of every minister, to be a life of self-sacrifice and self-denial throughout, even as was the life of Him who “pleased not himself”?
We have been slothful. We have been sparing of our toil. We have not endured hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Even when we have been instant in season, we have not been so out of season; neither have we sought to gather up the fragments of our time, that not a moment might be thrown idly or unprofitably away. Precious hours and days have been wasted in sloth, in company, in pleasure, in idle or desultory [aimless] reading, that might have been devoted to the closet, the study, the pulpit or the meeting! Indolence, self-indulgence, fickleness, flesh-pleasing, have eaten like a canker into our ministry, arresting the blessing and marring our success. It cannot be said of us, “For my name’s sake [thou] hast labored, and hast not fainted.” Alas! we have fainted, or at least grown “weary in well-doing.” We have not made conscience of our work. We have not dealt honestly with the church to which we pledged the vows of ordination. We have dealt deceitfully with God, whose servants we profess to be. We have manifested but little of the unwearied, self-denying love with which, as shepherds, we ought to have watched over the flocks committed to our care. We have fed ourselves, and not the flock.