We just received a seed catalog in the mail. Thoughts ran rapidly from planting seeds and watering them, to weeds. Ugh!
Thoughts of weeds were enough to put the catalog aside and postpone gardening for a few months, maybe indefinitely.
Weeding is tedious work. Besides, a couple of days of sleeping late and moving slow were beginning to dull my enthusiasm to do much of anything. Even the well-formed habit of early morning Bible reading and prayer was slipping. By 1 p.m. on Boxing Day, I had to force myself to go to the study and read the Scripture selection for the day.
“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 covered the face . . . and the stone wall . . . 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 poverty come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” Proverbs 24:30-34.
Biblically, thorns and thistles speak of several things. One is God’s curse on the earth because of man’s sin (Genesis 3:17-19). Another is the cares of this world that choke a person’s spiritual life (Matthew 13:22).
With that, several principles of gardening came back to mind, especially weeding. Weeds take over my garden without any help from me at all. But the desired plants must be tended daily to produce fruit. That requires work.
So here I was, “taking a little sleep, and folding my hands,” slacking off in the tending of the garden of my soul. With no early morning weeding for one day, by that afternoon I was already more interested in personal pursuits, maybe even another nap, than spending time with my God and obeying Him. That is exactly the same attitude the seed catalog revealed. I am basically lazy.
What kind of harvest can a lazy Christian expect? Not much of the right kind. Sitting back and folding my hands only frees the weeds to do their thing.
God uses His Word to cultivate my heart. It reveals sin, corrects it, purifies, encourages, teaches truth, exposes lies, gives hope, builds faith, warns, comforts, and centers my heart on eternal values and on God. If I expect my life to be Christlike and fruitful for Him, I need the daily nurture of this marvelous resource.
When I neglect it, I leave my heart open for the weeds.