PROVERBS 24:30-34 – I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE DANGERS OF SPIRITUAL LAZINESS. Today’s scripture is familiar to most Christians. It is one of those sections which go deep in the soul causing us well-needed reflection and self-examination. The imagery is vivid. We find someone strolling along a pathway and coming up to a garden, a vineyard more specifically. He stops and gazes over it. What he sees is depressing, but also instructive. One may only imagine what was racing through the man’s mind. Things like, “Hmm . . . I wonder what it looked like when it was well-kept?” Or, “How could one neglect such a parcel of land?” Yet, further, the thoughts might be more of a critical nature, “What type of person would be so lazy as to let go his garden?” Well, you and I are now viewing a garden, or vineyard, but not this one. It is the one where the Lord resides in His people. It is the one where we either nurture or neglect our walks with Him. It is the garden or vineyard of our hearts – the place where spiritual lives thrive or wither. So, from the parable two applications, or warnings about spiritual laziness leading to spiritual poverty.
First, the arrival to a state of spiritual indifference, spiritual poverty, or backsliding doesn’t just happen. As in a literal garden, weeds don’t just appear. They don’t overcome a garden with a snap of one’s finger. They slowly but surely take over when neglect to deal with them settles in. It is the same in our spiritual lives. Start neglecting the Word, prayer, fellowship with other Christians, faithfulness to church, and the “weeds of worldliness, laziness, wrong priorities, pleasures of the flesh” and many more take over our hearts. Our walks with the Lord will be unfruitful and joyless.
Another lesson from today’s scripture is spiritual laziness will have far more consequences than we realize. Not only was the lazy and neglectful farmer losing his garden, but also its protection. It wasn’t just his plants that suffered. His walls were also broken down. The means to guard his vineyard from animals and other forces seeking its ruin were gone. And it applies in our spiritual lives as well. Be spiritually negligent due to spiritual laziness and the negative impact is far. Our children may not come to Christ or walk away from Him because they saw our poor example. Same with co-workers. Same with neighbors. Also, we don’t know the extent the Lord will bring the pain of His rod into our lives to get us back to tending the garden of our heart. He does not tell us how He will restore His backslidden and lazy children, but one thing for certain, it will be painful.
There are a lot of lessons to heed in today’s scripture, but the chief one is don’t let spiritual laziness start to get a foothold in our lives. Like weeds, cut them out of our hearts before they take root. Be diligent in cultivating the garden of our hearts. And do so remembering who lives there – the Lord Jesus and He deserves a well-kept garden home!
PRAYER: “Father, forgive me for times of spiritually neglecting the most important thing in my life – my walk with You.”
QUOTE: “The Christian life will never be easy and ever in need of constant watching, cultivating, and protecting.”