Matters of Faith: When the Work Goes Undone!

By Reverend J. Loren Russell

Proverbs 24: 30-34 NKJV
“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. 32 When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest; 34 So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.”

The Message Bible paraphrases Proverbs 24:30-34 as follows; “One day I walked by the field of an old lazybones, and then passed the vineyard of a slob; They were overgrown with weeds, thick with thistles, all the fences broken down. I took a long look and pondered what I saw; the fields preached me a sermon and I listened: “A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, with poverty as your permanent houseguest!”

This article represents the 350th article that has been published in The Bronx Chronicle in the Matters of Faith column. The first article, published on July 27, 2014 talked about interpersonal relationships. 349 articles later, we are still talking about relationships; the relationship between a worker and the field given them to tend. The six plus years of my tending this field has been a labor of love. Like every relationship and every field, they both require work if they are to thrive.
Matters of Faith is a column, but it is also a field. That field must pull weeds, chop thistles, and plant fruit. It must water, fertilize and cultivate the soil in order to have a plentiful field of fruit, or in this case, faith. It is the hope of this author that the readers of the column have been better equipped to apply the Word of God in their everyday lives. Although there have been weeks that really challenged me, that there have been some painstaking, time consuming and difficult topics to address, I have been able to stay the course and hopefully, made a difference by cultivating the field that has been given to me.

The analogy raised in the scripture about the field of a lazy man reveals to us that one really does have to work to manage a field, whether that field is in the countryside or the community in which they reside. If nothing is done to maintain the quality of the field, it is quickly overrun with weeds, thistles, and deferred maintenance issues. In communities, if the work of cultivating the people is left undone, poverty, ignorance, and desperation quickly become permanent house guests.

The six-plus years of writing this column have proven to me that we cannot afford a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, a day off here and a day off there, because the consequences are dire; lives filled with poverty and despair. When the work goes undone, weeds spring up where fruit vines should grow, and thistles break out where vegetation should thrive. The fences that were designed to keep predators out, fall into disrepair because of neglect.

Thank you for the acknowledgment of the work that has been put into this field, even as I pray you have been strengthened by the fruit this column has produced. Let me encourage you in whatever field, territory, assignment, whether as a mentor, a husband, a wife, a significant other, or a leader at your job, your responsibility is to do whatever it takes to make your field an oasis. Just to remind us, every field should come with a sign that says, “Men/women at Work!”

One more thing, if you have put the work into your field and are reaping a harvest, I applaud you. However, you are not finished yet. The interconnected reality of life compels us to help our neighbor to likewise reap a harvest, to cultivate their field. When we put in the work and then collectively work together, we grow together. Think about the world we would have if so much work was not left undone.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book (eBook available at Smashwords).

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