Daily Devotional

Look After Your Vineyard

by Simon Whitton

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.

Proverbs 24:30-34 (NIV)

Vineyards are regularly mentioned in the scriptures.  Of particular interest is how the vineyard and its workers are commonly used as an allegory.  Most often it symbolizes the kingdom and the people of God.

The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight.

Isaiah 5:7a (NIV)

There's a lengthy parable in Mathew 21 about a vineyard, which is the kingdom of God.  The owner of the vineyard (God) completely equipped the vineyard and then rented it out to some workers, expecting fruit in return.  The workers disrespected the owner and all that belonged to him, they worked only for themselves.  Jesus ends the parable with this statement:

Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

Matthew 21:43 (NIV)

Our original passage from the book of Proverbs has much to say about neglect and laziness.  But is this message purely about working hard?  I think the Lord is far more concerned about the kingdom of God, about your relationship with Him, than about the hours you put in at work.

The passage speaks of thorns, weeds, and a wall in ruins; these are the distractions, the neglect and the sin that bring you to spiritual poverty.  This is not talking about weeding your garden, but about looking after your relationship with God.

What's important is that we bear fruit for the glory of God, not work hard for worldly goods.  We can afford to be financially poor, but we cannot afford to be spiritually destitute.  Above all else, do not neglect your spiritual life.

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
James 2:5 (NIV)

God has invested in us spiritually, giving us faith, He has completely equipped us, providing us with all that we need to produce fruit.

Spend time before the Lord, and confess any distractions, neglect or sin that may have kept you from producing fruit for His kingdom.  Ask the Lord to bless your vineyard, that you may produce an abundant harvest for the glory of God.

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