The Lazy Fall Prey

I went by the field of the lazy man,
And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
And there it was, all overgrown with thorns;
Its surface was covered with nettles;
Its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw it, I considered it well;
I looked on it and received instruction:
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest;
So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.”
Proverbs 24:30-34

 As I was working on gathering some data for a new blog I am putting together for my campaign, I came upon the most desperate plea from a teacher on the US Department of Education's blog. I want you to read what she wrote about the general attitude of her students and then I will tie it into the verses I have put above from Proverbs 24.

I have tried to present the world to [my students] but they are only interested in what has happened in their neighborhood. They do not see themselves as a member of the 'world community'...I feel as though I am failing my students! I spend time every week on transition. I try my best to guide my students through different career choices and the education or training they will need to be successful in their career choice. They think they will just walk into a position! With poor behavior choices and a poor attitude toward their academics, many just drop out when they can... all I hear from them is I don’t need to learn this….I am going to drop out when I turn 17 and get a check! How can I compete with that? I see so many wasted lives...” (Trish, August 29, 2012)

Unfortunately the attitude this teacher is seeing in her classroom is not an isolated scenario for her class, her school, or even her community. A lazy mentality towards life has plagued human existence since sin entered the world and our culture is becoming more and more apathetic towards it. We are creatures that thrive to find the easiest route to accomplish something and we are prone to whine and complain as an initial reaction when work is required of us. It takes a lot of instruction and a huge learning curve to overcome that nature within us. I speak from experience not only in my own life, but also from observing the lives of my children.

As a child I was not allowed to take the easy way out of anything. I learned to mix cement by the age of 10, it was required of me to care for my siblings when my parents were away, it was expected that I excel in school and take the advanced courses, and that I also work a job in high school to save away money for college. Did I love doing all of these things, especially when I saw that none of my friends were required by their parents to work as hard as I needed to work? No. I hated it. But now as an adult I am thankful my parents never gave up on making me do those things which were in such great opposition to my nature.

In realizing how important hard work was in my formative years, I have not allowed my children to take the easy road either. Living on a hobby farm provides many opportunities for work, and working in conditions that would not even be comfortable for some city-dwelling adults. Even when the weather here in Minnesota dips below zero and the windchill dips even lower, all of my kids are still required to suit up and take care of the animals they are in charge of. When it comes to hay season, we put over 400 bales of hay, each weighing about 70 pounds up into our barn loft. (This usually happens on one of the hottest days of the summer and requires us to lift each bale 3 or more times in transitioning.) Then, there are the seasonal chores, their school work, their community involvement, and church activities. Yes, for many years my older children did complain, but I looked past their complaining to a day when they would realize how their ability to do hard things would pay off.

The sad fact in our society today is that there are very few parents left who learned themselves the lessons necessary to push through laziness and do hard things on a daily basis. And what is even more pitiful is that a large majority of those who do work hard themselves have either been too busy to pass their hard working attitude onto their children or have thought it mean or cruel to make their children work as hard as they were required to work in order to learn what they learned. What these adults and children in our society who have learned to rest too much and not work enough have done is left themselves open to the work of idleness.

The proverb verses above tell us that the life of an idle person is “devoid of understanding”, it is “overgrown with thorns...[and]..nettles”, and has a “broken down” wall. If we look at each of these things individually we can see the even greater significance of what the Lord is trying to teach us here. I am going to take each of these three things and add come additional scriptural truths to help broaden these concepts out even more.

Being “devoid of understanding” leaves a person in a constant state of wandering, always looking but never finding what is really true and what will not only bring them the rest their laziness is searching for, but also the true rest their soul is searching for – an eternal resting place in the Lord. Unfortunately those who do not learn to be disciplined will also not be ready for the final test that understanding brought about through discipline teaches, understanding of the end that is to come.

For they are a nation void of counsel,
Nor is there any understanding in them.
Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would consider their latter end!” 
Deuteronomy 32: 28-29

Now as He drew near, [Jesus] saw the city and wept over it, saying,, If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.'” Luke 19:41-44

Where do I get the assumption that those who are lazy will miss out on getting the understanding they need for their final judgment? I will point you to two scripture references. The first is the parable of the The Wise and Foolish Virgins:

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 'Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.'” Matthew 25:1-13

Added to the section of the The Parable of the Sower in regards to those who let weeds grow up in their lives:

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.” Matthew 13:7

Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22

Here is what the thorns and nettles the lazy person allows to grow up really choke out, the truth of the Lord. And now finally we get to the broken down wall.

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” Proverbs 25:28

Violence shall no longer be heard in your land,
Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders;
But you shall call your walls Salvation,
And your gates Praise.”
Isaiah 60:18

Without the walls of God's law, by which a determined spirit learns to work hard to live within, there is certain destruction. God makes it very clear, if we allow the wall of our heart to not be made strong by being diligent in His word and seeking Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and yes strength, then we are not guarantee that we will understand our need for salvation, how He alone is our salvation, or that there will even come a time when our eternity will be in question.

I hope my long winded blog today was worth your time to read. I know it settles some things in my heart that were weighing me down pretty heavy as I went to bed with the words of the teacher I quoted above still ringing in my head. The time to put away any thoughts or notions of laziness is now. We do not know when the day or hour is when our souls will be required of us but we do know when we need to be ready, and that time is now.


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