“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 thereof was broken down. 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 travels; and thy want as an armed man.”
Each time I come across this passage, my mind presents an image that I believe will always be mine to treasure. As I joined my husband’s family, I came to realize the importance of doing a job right. My father-in-law was a man of great strength and wisdom. He loved the LORD and prepared well for his family. He was a good father and a righteous man who supported his church, his community and his extended family. He did all things as unto the LORD. But little did I know or understand just how much he believed God’s Word to be his compass and his gage on a job well done. My father-in-law was also a farmer, and I can proclaim without any fear of over exaggeration, that his fields were the cleanest in the country side. Just as our verse speaks here, about the slothful man’s field being full of thorns and weeds, my father-in-law’s property was free of weeds and thorns. We use to tease that a weed was afraid to sprout in his field. He was relentless with his watching guard over the thief that would steal nutrition and water from his vines, trees or lawns. Besides his vineyards being in prime condition, his home was kept neat, clean and repaired. Even when he was in his 80’s and living in a mobile home, we found him often working to devise a better way for water to drain away from the home, sealing all the openings in the seams so that bugs could not get in and faithfully ensuring there would be no leaks in the roof as he would climb his ladder to once again inspect and paint the roof of his mobile home with water sealant.
So how does this story apply to our passage today? You can see that a diligent man will do all he can to take care of the work at hand, where the slothful man lets the enemy take root. Nor does the diligent man allow his home to fall to disrepair. And I believe, just like my father-in-law did, that even meant that we don’t let our family’s spiritual life fall to disrepair. We are to be examples of encouragement as we call our family members to accountability. We do not allow sin to slip in the back door or look the other way when sin tries to steal the heart of our loved ones. Just like weeds that are allowed to grow and finally take over, so will sin. We must stand watch and apply faithful diligence to guarding and nurturing our family, both in their physical needs and especially in their spiritual needs.
This passage refers to the slothful man, as someone who, perhaps, has too much on their mind to be bothered, or someone who is fearful of hard work, or someone who is tired of the consistency it takes to keep what God has given them. Let it not be said of God’s people that we were slothful in our calling to duty. Let it not be said that we were fearful of the work He equipped us for and do not let us grow weary in well doing (see Galatians 6:8-10).
Matthew Henry says, “Our souls are our fields and vineyards, which we are every one of us to take care of, to dress, and to keep. They are capable of being improved with good husbandry; that may be got out of them which will be fruit abounding to our account. We are charged with them, to occupy them till our LORD come; and a great deal of care and pains it is requisite that we should take about them.”
Prayer: Father, as we enter this day of new mercies, let us seek your Word for the repairs, weeding and nurturing we need to work on in our lives and the lives of those we live among. And at the end of the day, let us reflect on the good work you gave us to do. Instruct us in wisdom, and help us to apply what we have learned from your Word to keep our homes clean from the enemy, restored from the sin that so easily besets us and nurtured in your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Connie Renfro ©