I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of one who lacks wisdom.
I saw that thorns had grown up all over it,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw this, I gave careful consideration to it;
I received instruction from what I saw:
“A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to relax,
and your poverty will come like a bandit,
and your need like an armed robber.”
Growing up, I loved doing a garden. You probably know this already. But it was one of the things I enjoyed doing the most. I had a catalog of seeds that I’d go through and order seed for the coming year. One year, I even grew popcorn, and it worked. Of course, it was my Grandma who shelled most of it. Regardless, we popped a lot of it.
Because I enjoyed gardening, I was always looking at other people’s gardens to see how they did things. I wanted to see what they did with their tomatoes, and how far apart they planted their corn. But there was one thing that amazed me. It was when I would see gardens that people would plant and then they’d let them grow completely over with weeds.
I’m not just talking weeds here and there. Every garden always has a weed. And I hated weeding. Still do. But, why go to all that trouble of tilling the soil and planting the seed to let it get overtaken by weeds? What’s the point of that. A lot of them, you wouldn’t even know there was a garden there unless the corn was taller than the weeds.
I hope you don’t take this the wrong way if that was you. But, that’s the perfect example of this verse, although the example of this verse is a little more extreme. A weedy garden can happen in a season. It takes longer for thorns to grow, walls to break down and be covered in weeds. But it gives you the picture.
I want to clarify the latter part of this verse. First, it’s not saying that sleeping and relaxing are bad things. To say that would be in direct contradiction with one of the 10 commandments. Instead what it’s describing is a pattern or sleeping, slumber and relaxing. It might read better this way, A little sleep here, a little slumber there and a little relaxing here. It’s compounding. It’s habitual. It’s a lifestyle.
I wanted to point that out because being a workaholic can be just as bad as being a sluggard. We need rest. But we also need to work.
So, what do your fields look like? Because the condition of our fields are a good indicator of the condition of our lives. In other words, if several parts of your life are a wreck, then you’re likely to be a sluggard. If your house is a mess, your car is a pit and your yard is a disaster – just because your desk at work is clean doesn’t make you not a sluggard.
So, what do your fields look like?