I can’t remember the last time I washed my truck. Well, that is until last Sunday afternoon. And don’t even ask when it was last vacuumed. Probably only once or twice since I bought it in 2010. I will say I’m reasonably good about keeping the engine maintained.
Maintenance – every Christian needs it. You can’t ignore things like prayer, study, and worship. These are the things that keep your faith motor running in optimal condition. Like my truck that gradually gets filthy from lack of proper care, it’s easy to overlook the maintenance that your relationship with God needs. You don’t notice how shabby things are until something breaks. You get busy and put off that Bible Study; you’re tired and don’t feel like getting up on Sunday for worship so you sleep in. You meant to pray last night but you fell asleep.
Proverbs 24:30-34 (ESV)
30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
An established vineyard doesn’t just happen. It takes a minimum of three years after planting your first vines to get a harvest. And in the meantime, there is pruning, weeding, and watering that must be done. A successful crop doesn’t happen by itself; it takes a lot of sweat effort.
So why would you go to all the trouble to plant and establish a vineyard only to abandon it and let it be overrun by weeds?
The writer of Proverbs 24 describes a person who does just that. Someone who owns an established vineyard, but they have let it go unattended. He calls this senseless because here they have a perfectly good vineyard with an opportunity to earn valuable income, yet the owner doesn’t have any interest in maintaining it. He allows it to be overgrown by weeds and go to waste. Out of laziness he permits thorns and nettles to cover the ground making it virtually impossible to harvest a crop.
Nettles are really nasty little weeds; they are covered with tiny, nearly invisible hairs that produce an intense, stinging pain, followed by redness and irritation when coming in contact with the skin. Once established, they’re difficult to eradicate because they spread by seed and an intense underground root system. You can imagine how difficult it would be for a person wearing sandals to work in a vineyard that was covered in nettles.
The sad condition of this vineyard didn’t happen overnight; it occurred little by little from lack of consistent care. That is the warning issued in these verses – you can’t ignore regular maintenance. If you do, you’ll allow vicious weeds to take over. Your Christian faith is no different. If you ignore things like study and prayer, your faith will inherently become weaker and other unwanted issues will begin to creep into your life. If you’re not careful, you’ll have an overwhelming amount of work to do before your life will become fruitful again.
Daily maintenance. It’s a lot easier to keep things neat and organized if you work at it every day, little by little.
I’m pouring myself a cup of something hot and delicious. Here’s to another productive day!