I’m not a professional gardener, but I absolutely love having flowers, plants and herbs growing in my yard. I enjoy going out each day to water, clip and prune as necessary. Lately, however, it seems the thing I spend most of my time doing is weeding. There is a weed that is growing in my front flower bed that has a long vine, so when I go to pull it up I get a foot of vine and roots. If I’m not home to weed for a couple of days that weed goes crazy and pops its little head up everywhere!
This morning as I was reading Proverbs 24 I thought of my garden when I read verses 30 and 31 – “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 the stone wall there was broken down.” I wonder if this man’s weed was what’s growing in my yard? It has the same ability – it could completely cover up everything in a matter of time, and break down a stone wall. But why was it allowed? The beginning of the verse tells us the reason – the gardener was lazy. I wonder where he was and what he was doing all the while the weeds were taking over his beautiful garden with the stone wall? I also have to ask myself why do things get put off in my world? Why are things left undone? Oh, I could come up with all kinds of good excuses:
- There’s so much to do in a day
- There simply aren’t enough hours to accomplish everything
- Everyone needs me
- I have to have a little down time too, you know!
- I don’t get enough help from others
As I continue to read this passage it seems that the writer of this chapter was also wondering as he passed by this forsaken garden how this could have happened. It says in verse 32 – “Then I saw, and considered 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.” The destruction didn’t happen overnight. It happened slowly, just like when a person travels on foot makes slow progress. This lazy person prefers sleep. He wakes up, then rolls back over for another little nap. Instead of working he indulges himself in snoozing.
Laziness isn’t just seen in our gardens. It can be seen by neglect of meal preparation – waiting until everyone is starved to begin trying to find something to eat. It sprouts up in the piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or ironed. The mounds of junk mail stacked on the counter or desk that need attention point to laziness. The lesson waiting to be studied reveals sluggishness. The children in need of love, attention and teaching are loud voices of our drowsiness. The stacked up dishes, splattered mirrors, dusty furniture, cluttered closets, and unorganized cabinets are all like the broken down wall in the garden as they tell all that pass by that we are apathetic.
In trying to control my weed problem out front I did some research and read this statement:”Weeds are simply plants that are growing in the wrong place.” When we neglect the things we should be busy about doing each day we’re growing in the wrong place too. Some of those “wrong places” could be – spending too much time at the computer (it’s sure easy to do!), running around town more than necessary, being away too often just for the sake of going to have fun, or too much time on the phone. While we’re doing those things the weeds are taking over. The article I read went on to say, Weeding is a very ‘low-tech’ job, the only tools required are a hand fork, a garden fork for larger specimens, and a bucket to collect the debris. Luxury extras are a kneeling pad and a pair of gloves. The tools we need to reign in laziness are also simple – godly discipline and elbow grease!
One prayer I pray often is, “Lord, establish the work of my hands today.” (Psalm 90:17) I need the Lord to help me keep focused and use my time wisely. I could easily waste away a day on unnecessary things, things that would let the weeds grow like crazy while I was completely oblivious. What are some things that you know the Lord would pleased you accomplish today? Don’t let the weeds take over and break down your walls!