Taken and adapted from “Talks to Farmers.”
Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof,and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it,and received instruction.”
–Proverbs 24 : 30-32.
As for a sluggard in soul matters, he is indeed void of understanding, for he trifles with matters which demand his most earnest heed.
Man, hast thou never cultivated thy heart? Hast the plough share never broken up the clods of thy soul ? Has the seed of the Word never been sown in thee? Or, has it taken no root ? Hast thou never watered the young plants of desire? Hast thou never sought to pull up the weeds of sin that grow in thy heart ? Art thou still a piece of the bare common or wild heath? Poor soul! Thou canst trim thy body, and spend many a minute at the glass; dost thou not care for thy soul? How long do you take to decorate thy poor flesh, which is but worm’s meat, or would be in a minute if God took away thy breath! And yet all the while thy soul is uncombed, unwashed, unclad, a poor neglected thing.
Oh it should not be so, You take care of the worse part and leave the better to perish through neglect. This is the height of folly! He that is a sluggard as to the vineyard of his heart is a man void of understanding. If I must be idle, let it be seen in my field and my garden, but not in my soul.
Are you a Christian? Are you really saved, and are you negligent in the Lord’s work? Then, indeed, whatever you may be, I cannot help saying you have too little understanding; for surely, when a man is saved himself, and understands the danger of other men’s souls, he must be in earnest in trying to pluck the firebrands from the flame. A Christian sluggard! Is there such a being? A Christian man on half-time?
A Christian man working not at all for his Lord; how shall I speak of him? Time does not tarry, death does not tarry, HELL does not tarry; Satan is not lazy, all the powers of darkness are busy: how is it that you and I can be sluggish, if the Master has put us into his vineyard? Surely we must be void of understanding if,after being saved by the infinite love of God, we do not spend and be spent in his service. The eternal fitness of things demands that a saved man should be an earnest man.
The Christian who is slothful in his Master’s service has no idea what he is losing; for the very cream of religion lies in holy consecration to God.
Some people have just enough religion to make it questionable whether they have any or not. They have enough godliness to make them uneasy in their ungodliness. They have washed enough of their face to show the dirt upon the rest of it. “I am glad,” said a servant, that my mistress takes the sacrament, for otherwise I should not know she had any religion at all.” You smile, and well you may. It is ridiculous that some people should have no goods in their shop, and yet advertise their business in all the papers; should make a show of religion, and yet have none of the Spirit of God.
I wish some professors would do Christ the justice to say, “No, I am not one of his disciples; do not think so badly of Christ as to imagine that I can be one of them.” We ought to be reflections of Christ; but I fear many are reflections upon Christ. When we see a lot of lazy servants, we are apt to think that their master must be a very idle person himself, or he would never put up with them. He who employs sluggards, and is satisfied with their snail-like pace, cannot be a very active man himself. O, let not the world think that Christ is indifferent to human woe, that Christ has lost his zeal, that Christ has lost his energy: yet I fear they will say it or think it if they see those who profess to be laborers in the vineyard of Christ nothing better than mere sluggards.
The slothful, then, is a man void of understanding; he loses the honor and pleasure which he would find in serving his Master; he is a dishonor to the cause which he professes to venerate, and he is storing up thorns for his dying pillow. Let that stand as settled ” the slothful, whether he be a minister, deacon, or private Christian, is a man void of understanding.