Proverbs 24

A Dangerous Combination.

“I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense.” – Proverbs 24:30 NLT

One of the fallacies associated with the life of faith is that there is little we are responsible for in our Christian life. It is a life based solely upon grace and not merit. While it is true that we can’t earn our salvation through effort or works, it is NOT true that grace eliminates effort altogether. Grace is opposed to earning, not effort. We can’t earn favor with God. We can’t earn out way into heaven. We can’t earn godliness, but we are to strive for it. Paul said, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should” (1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT). Paul pursued the life of righteousness with a vengeance. While he knew that ultimately it is God’s responsibility to produce the life of godliness within us, Paul also knew that he had a responsibility to pursue the things of God. God makes the crops grow, but the farmer still has to till the ground and plant the seed.

In the book of Proverbs you will see repeated mention of the sluggard or the lazy person. Sometimes he is referred to as the sloth. He is slow moving, sleep loving and work despising. In verse 30, Solomon combines the attribute of laziness with the lack of common sense. It presents a toxic blend of two character traits that are each bad enough alone, but devastating when combined. In reality, the lazy person probably always lacks common sense or understanding, because they fail to recognize that their failure to act and desire to avoid work will always produce the wrong results. Solomon’s describes the visible outcome of the lifestyle of laziness and ignorance: “I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down” (Proverbs 24:30-31 NLT). This guy’s field or vineyard is overgrown with weeds and the walls designed to protect it are in a shambles. In other words, due to this person’s laziness and lack of common sense, his vineyard would fail to produce fruit. His ignorance and unwilling to work would result in fruitlessness. What a sad picture of the lives of so many Christians today. Due to spiritual apathy and laziness, their lives produce little in the way of fruit. They have neglected the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Scripture reading, meditation, and the study of God’s Word. As a result, their spiritual walls are broken down and their lives have become fruitless. The lesson Solomon learned from seeing the field of the lazy person apply to us today. “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber” (Proverbs 24:33-34 NLT). Our choice to take the lazy way will result in spiritual poverty. The apostle Paul challenges us, “let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God” (2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT). The godly life requires diligent effort and common sense. We must pursue the things of God with a vengeance. We must make the things of God our highest priority. He has placed His Spirit within us, but the Holy Spirit will not force Himself on us. We must make a choice to tap into His power and take full advantage of His presence in our lives. “But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live” (Romans 8:13 NLT). Laziness and a lack of common sense are a dangerous combination in the life of the believer. God has called us to work hard and think wisely, which is why Paul encourages us to “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:12-13 NLT).

Father, forgive me for my spiritual apathy and laziness. Forgive me for my lack of common sense when I have the wisdom of God available to me through the Word of God. I want to be “a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org