30 I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–
34 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
These verses are usually read with physical laziness as the focus. And while that is a true analogy, I think there is another one that’s every bit as comparable.
I am referring to our spiritual life which can be compared easily to a garden.
We ignore our spiritual “gardens” and pretty soon the “weeds” of the world choke the spiritual right out of us.
Our “walls” of protection are in ruins.
picture of neglected spiritual life
But we can change all that.
We can change by observing the habits of those whose lives we admire and watch what they are doing. We can change by observing the habits of whose lives are a mess and pay attention to what they’re not doing. The apostle Paul even suggested that others should emulate his own personal behavior. We can learn a lot from observing other people’s lives. Why re-invent the wheel?
If we don’t learn, if we don’t take our spiritual practices seriously, our lives become impoverished, our answers to prayer in scarce supply.
There is much to learn from these verses of scripture. Laziness applies to almost everything in our lives.
If we’re lazy with our health habits, it will show.
If we’re lazy with our finances, it will show.
If we’re lazy in any area in our life, it will show.
The Bible speaks a lot about laziness. Even the apostle Paul mentions how he works for his keep, that he doesn’t expect charity. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that they were to provide for themselves as well.
I fight this as much as anyone else. So what I do is just plan a lazy day. That way I can look forward to it as a kind of “holiday”. I don’t have to feel guilty. This, too, is biblical. God worked for seven days (literal or not), and then rested.
Maybe God instituted a day of rest as a motivation to stay busy the other six. I think that makes perfect sense. It’s like God meant to demonstrate a “rhythm” to life.
But for the most part, lazy is bad for me. I feel so much better when I’m productive. Strangely, I feel closer to God.
Actually, when I think about it, that makes perfect sense. Isn’t God busy every minute? Is there any place in scripture that even hints God is not constantly working in this world? So maybe being busy makes me feel in sync with God.
Of course, lazy is a personal definition. I’m not suggesting a life of hectic running from here to there, lack of sleep, eating on the run, anxious and frenzied every minute. That is NOT a definition of productive. This is a definition of crazy.
hectic and frenzied
What I’m suggesting here is leading productive lives, especially where our spiritual life is concerned.
But what is the definition of a spiritually productive life?
I guess there are all kinds of parameters one could use. But one thing it isn’t is a life free from struggle.
For me it’s if God is central in my thoughts, my words, and my behavior. It’s if I feel somehow “lonely” if I don’t spend time with Him in prayer and Bible study. After that it’s up to God.
How about you? How would you define a spiritually productive life? Is your spiritual garden weed-free or laying in ruins? Taking our spiritual “temperature” now and then is a good idea.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.
(PS Please excuse the editing. Still having trouble with my editing not staying in place.}