"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."
Imagine walking through the countryside in Palestine and seeing fertile fields of wheat and barley, well-kept gardens and vineyards, and then you suddenly come upon the field described in the text we just read--a field overgrown with thorns and weeds and its stone wall broken down. This ugly sight cries out: "Failure!" But what was the cause and could it have been prevented? What can we learn from these verses to avoid failure in our lives (cf. Rom. 15:4)?
It is abundantly clear that the failure in this case is in the owner of the field; he was lazy! He allowed things to deteriorate to their current state through his slothfulness or indifference. He lost security and protection when his stone fence fell. Instead of repairing it, he left his property open to any animal to graze at will, perhaps consuming what little crops he may have had. Friends, if we are not "fenced in" (so to speak) by God's word today, we will be open to temptations that will destroy us and ruin true joy!
Interestingly, the man's field was not empty even though he was lazy. Rather, it was covered with undesirable weeds and thorns! Nature will grow something on productive ground if man doesn't cultivate it. The field was full of great potential, but laziness hindered a good crop from being produced. Likewise, every human life is full of possibilities--both good and bad. Which will you chose? We select the fruit our lives will bear by what we plant in our minds and how we live. If we neglect God's word, our lives will become cluttered with the "weeds and thorns" of worldliness which are both destructive and possessive (cf. Matt. 13:22)!
The lazy man would ruin his life through neglect. No matter how beautiful a field or garden, neglect will ruin it. No matter how beautiful a house, neglect will ruin it. Neglect will ruin a good business. Neglect will ruin good children and a good wife. Neglect will destroy peace and happiness. Dear listeners, are you neglecting anything in your life presently that the Lord would want you to focus on and diligently cultivate? Examine yourself; don't allow neglect to ruin you. Hebrews 2:1,3 states - "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away...how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him."
Had the owner not been lazy but been a hard worker in his field, there still would have been hindrances to overcome, but they would have been small and much more manageable. No worthwhile achievement is accomplished without work! But, many seek ease and idleness; they seek to avoid labor! May it not be so with you and I! Let us desire to make the most of the opportunities the Lord provides for both physical and spiritual labor. Let us work diligently and flee laziness. If one is unwilling to work, he should not expect to eat (cf. II Thess. 3:10). We will have time to rest in the life beyond; now is the time to work (cf. Heb. 4:9; John 9:4).