“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.” Proverbs 24:30-34
Solomon’s wisdom was honed by keen eyes and active thought. The man described, whom we do not see, had every resource: property protected by walls, and grapevines, but by their condition we understand his proclivity to sloth and mismanagement. Closing his eyes to the deterioration of his walls and the creep of thorns necessarily riddled away at his defenses. Lacking sense and unaware of the slow slide, the lazy man was overtaken, held captive by his ease and the wily, deceptive thief that would strangle any yield from his vineyard, thereby ravishing his means of provision. (John 8:44; 10:10)
A nap here, a small slip there, a pinch of giving in, a guard let slightly down– these “little slumbers” add together in our lives to make for a big sleep that allows room for the enemy thorns, roots, nettles that break down defenses and choke our fruitfulness. No matter our initial good intensions, and even healthy beginnings with ample supply, if we fail to maintain vigilance in the maintenance of our vineyards, we will not only fail to produce anything worthwhile and lasting, but will slide into ruined, wasted lives. There is no middle ground. Our souls must be kept, our hearts guarded, our minds protected, our lives abiding in Jesus, if we are to live abundantly for Him. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 23:3; Proverbs 4:23; John 15:5; Philippians 4:6-9)
What specific areas am I neglecting to manage, instead preferring superficial comfort and ease? What niggling pests of greed, selfishness, or irritation have I allowed to sneak in and eat away at thankfulness, optimism, peace? Where have I failed to drink in God’s rain of refreshing, enlightening truth, and begun to dry up and wither? What defenses, margins, protections have I relinquished due to laziness or apathy, and what stresses, frustrations, complaining, slippages of discipline are evidence of their absence? When and how will I shrug off my sluggard clothes?
Creator and Architect of my life, inspire me to watch and learn from Your illustrations in my day-to-day, and sharpen me so I recognize any slippery slope away from You. Keep me on Your straight and narrow, bearing much fruit that will last and show forth Your bountiful grace. (Matthew 7:13-14; John 15:16)