Proverbs 24:30-31 (NKJV)
30 I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down.
A vineyard was one of the most important places in the Bible days. It was not only a place of beauty, but a place that provided nourishment. A lovely garden that produced grapes to be eaten or used in the process of making wine. It was not an easy job, but whoever owned the vineyard, knew it had to be taken care of with hard work and constant care. When you see a beautiful vineyard, you can’t help but recognize the incredible work that went into making it so wonderful. A productive vineyard represented dedicated work.
Solomon knew this well and that’s why he gives us this analogy. His writing is so relevant and straight to the point. He tells us that he saw the field and vineyard of a lazy man. This was a man that didn’t care about the potential in his garden. He never took the time to learn more about his vineyard and how to make it prosperous. He probably saw someone else’s vineyard and wanted one just like it, but never considered the incredible work that would have to go into making it grow.
Soon, the thorns overtook the vineyard and it was covered with nettles and weeds. The stone fence used for protecting the grapes was broken down, which meant it was now vulnerable to wild animals coming in and destroying any future hope and restoration. Can you imagine how it looked after all of this happened? What was once a beautiful, productive garden, is now something that looks nothing like a vineyard whatsoever. No more grapes, no more vines, and sadly, it has no identity. It cannot be distinguished between and vineyard and a field.
On this last day of 2014, Solomon’s words seem to fit so well. Obviously there is a spiritual application to what he was referring to. Today I would ask you, what is your vineyard? What is it that you own and are responsible for? It can be your ministry, your business, your marriage and several other things…you fill in the blank with what your vineyard is. Whatever it is…how does it look? Is it as beautiful as it was when you first started? Is it still producing grapes? Are other people blessed because of your dedication to the maintaining of it?
Maybe you’ve become lazy because you’ve lost your desire to care for it. Perhaps it didn’t grow like you thought it would. Maybe you didn’t realize the kind of work it would take to make it prosperous. You may have even purchased it because you saw someone else’s vineyard and you wanted one too. You saw the beauty, but didn’t know how hard it would be to make it prosperous.
Have the thorns and nettles started to overtake it? Have you lost the protective fence around it and are now vulnerable to wild animals that want to completely destroy your vineyard? Have you lost your identity because of not maintaining the upkeep of it? Can you tell it was ever a vineyard or does it just look like a field? What is your vineyard and what does it look like today?
If you have allowed this to happen to your vineyard, this is what I would encourage you to do. Make up in your your mind that you are going to restore your vineyard, no matter how much work it takes. It’s going to hurt, but start cutting down the weeds and thorns that have overtaken it. Find every piece of stone that has been broken down and start putting it back together, one by one. You didn’t get to this condition overnight and you won’t rebuild it overnight either. Just know that when you get rid of everything that has tried destroy it, somewhere beneath all the the thorns nettles is the true identity of a vineyard.
It’s a new year, so gather everything you’re going to need for this job and get to work. You have a vineyard to restore!