30 I happened upon the field of a lazy person,
by the vineyard of one with no sense.
31 Thorns grew all over it;
weeds covered the ground,
and the stone wall was falling down.
32 I observed this and took it to heart;
I saw it and learned a lesson.
33 “A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little lying down with folded arms”—
34 and poverty will come on you like a prowler,
deprivation like a man with a shield.
This passage expressed simple wisdom. “One of the single most important themes in the book of Proverbs contrasts lazy people with the diligent. The sages considered laziness a preeminent type of folly that results in destitution.”* It is of course wiser to work diligently than to lazily while away our days. (Like all the proverbs, there are exceptions. At times lazy people end up wealthy, for various reasons.) But as we recall how the prophets and Jesus used vineyards as a spiritual image, the proverb may also tell us about our inner life.
O God, remind me that the life to which you call me is a good life, one that produces greater purpose, satisfaction and joy. Deliver me from the urge to be lazy in following you. Amen.
* HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 140910-140911). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
I was speaking to a group of seventh grade girls last week about self-compassion and compassion for others. We watched a clip from Disney’s movie, Inside Out, and then began a discussion about our inner roommates (emotions like joy, anger, sadness, and fear.)
One of the 13 year old girls said, “I live with an inner roommate named Lazy Larry. He tells me to stay in bed in the morning.” I shared that I have a Lazy Larry roommate too. Mine says, “It is a busy, stressful, and scary world out there. Just stay in bed and watch movies all day.” We went on to discuss how every once in a while, we can listen to Larry and give ourselves a day off. But, most of the time, we have to tell him that it is time to get moving.
I think Lazy Larry shows up in our faith sometimes too. We let other priorities rise to the top of our to-do list. We run out of time for spiritual practices. We forget to "be still and know" (Psalm 46:10). We miss church events. We don’t make time to read Scripture. We slowly let these things fall off our radar. And then we wonder why we feel out-of-sorts, frustrated, lost, and disconnected.
When I feel like life is going into a downward spiral, it is usually because I became lazy about my communication with God. The good news is, the reset is instantaneous. God did not go anywhere; I just forgot to tune in. This amazing resource of love, compassion, wisdom, guidance, calm, peace, assurance, and hope is available to us every moment of every day.
One tool I use to feel a connection with God is called floating. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. Then with each deep breath, I imagine myself rising and floating out of my chair, rising above the room, rising above the building. Floating safely, blissfully up to God. I see the city below me, then the outline of the states, then I go a little higher and see continents and oceans of blue and green. I float above it all and notice a wave of peace and calm wash over me as I feel like I am floating with God, transcending the earth. This brings me an instant feeling of connection and within a few seconds, I have quieted my racing mind and feel tuned into God again. I invite you to try this exercise.
It is up to us to manage our inner Lazy Larry. God has a lot of work for us to do. We have to be intentional about tuning in and listening for guidance. We each have a divine assignment to be an instrument of God’s love every day. Let’s get moving!
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