Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stewardship

From Proverbs 24
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. 32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. 33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.  --KJV 


It seems that scripture is rife with admonitions to tend to business, to practice industrious living.  And rightly so, I daresay.  But I find this little parabolic sermon to be quite charming.  One gazing upon the fields and vineyards of a lazy and stupid man sees the fruit of sloth, and it is not grapes.  One wonders, of course, if the proprietor in this instance may have found himself in reduced circumstances due to overindulgence in the fermented product of his vineyard. There is, at least, little doubt that such profligate behavior can lead to stupor, stupidity, slumber, and ultimately to ruin.  Or perhaps this individual inherited a thriving operation and lacked the ambition, enthusiasm, and energy requisite to maintenance of a successful business.  In short, he may be lazy and a wastrel, reminding us of the prodigal son of the New Testament.

Yet, a bit farther down the road we may see the evidence of an overachiever, a grasping, greedy, and selfish individual who lacks nothing in the way of ambition, but lacks all in concern for his fellow man.  Too much well-tended land, too many barns, too much gathered to oneself.  Yet it is possible we misinterpret or misunderstand.  This may be the fellow we described, reminding us of the character in the New Testament who said, “I will raze my barns, and build bigger.”  And yet the effort was for naught in terms of his eternal welfare.  Or it may be that this man is a good steward whose concern is not for himself alone, but for others as well, with much of his gain supporting others.


Which leads us finally to this.  Perhaps we should be less hasty in passing judgment on others. We should at least have some understanding of a set of circumstances before we draw conclusions.

Image: Old Wood Company
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