Proverbs 24:30-34 - Sloth

Proverbs 24:30-34, "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the Vineyard of the man void of understanding: and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and a stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and consider it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."

This slothful farmer lived within Solomon’s realm and his under-productive acres were an eyesore because his estate was unkempt and he projected an image and testimony that diminished the king’s name. We are transplanted individuals living within the periphery of the kingdom and our neighbors know us by the way we govern our lives. When we cultivate the spirit and character of our Lord, we are reflecting the husbandry of our King and our lives are contributing to the profit and testimony of the Gospel story.

This aloof farmer had both a field and a vineyard which he neglected and it was overgrown with thorns and nettles. The stone wall was broken down giving every weed seed an opportunity to express their wild natures. His attitude enabled the old nature and the old growth to deepen their ownership which shortchanged the king of a harvest. Opportunity was knocking on his door, but his ambition was asleep and his diminutive vision kept him in self-imposed poverty.

A slothful person could be a man or woman, boy or girl, farmer or business person, friend or neighbor. He had all of his assets available: the land, the oxen and plow, seed and he had plenty of time on his hands. He needed to put work clothes on his desires and put his hand to the plow and plow under his excuses. The plow turns over soil and the knives break up the clods and exposes the soil to light, warmth and moisture making it receptive to receiving the seed. When the Gospel took root in our lives, the Spirit quickened the seed and a selective fruit was born in our lives that had potential of eternal life.

Neglect is a slow creeping sin that infiltrates our faith and weakens our purpose and motivation. Neglect teams up with procrastination like a pair of thieves. These thieves prey on lives where fences are broken down and carelessness is the proprietor. They sow their seeds and over time victims are brought to poverty. Crop failure becomes a danger when we lose fellowship with our King and we are satisfied with the status quo. This attitude and attrition mean a loss of profit and inheritance.

Solomon wrote about three perpetrators: a little sleep, a little slumber and a little folding of the hands. He used the adjective "little" implying that the losing proposition of thorns and nettles perpetuates poverty and loss a little at a time. His desire and ambition were asleep and when he awoke, he had no friends, no song, no harvest, and no profit. The little things in life that irritate and take issue with our ambition limits our progress. Possibilities for change won’t improve until we pray and turn to God for clarity and resolution.

Jesus was the sower of divine seed and He didn’t go out into the world to save humanity acre by acre, but heart by heart. The world is a wilderness of broken walls and unbroken wills. Darkness like a pall has settled over humanity and Satan is taking advantage of this time period by working around the clock impoverishing the harvest of needy souls. We reap what we sow and it is imperative to redeem the time by sowing to the Spirit and responding to the care and compassion of the husbandry of our King.

This is the moment in life that we want to stop and consider and receive instructions. We observe our own lives and we understand there is much work to be done. We don’t want to be overwhelmed by our own lack and we don’t want to compare our lives with fields that are flourishing with fruit. Sometimes, the knives of the plow cut deep in order to remove neglect, hardness, and unwillingness. It is better to feel the pain of change now and rebuild our fences and sow the seed of the life and spirit of Christ and bring forth fruit bearing the image and testimony of our Saviour and King.