The Neglected Vineyard
... They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept. ~Song of Solomon 1:6b
Are you a busy person? Chances are, the combination of work, family, church, and other activities keeps you very active and busy. However, I think many of us struggle in trying to maintain work-life balance and not letting the responsibilities of our personal life go unaddressed or slip through the cracks. This morning, we see the heaviness of having an unkept vineyard and what we must do about it.
We see the reasons.
“They made me the keeper of the vineyards.” A vineyard represented a person’s livelihood. It was popular and economically useful to own a vineyard in ancient days. The vineyard produced luscious grapes that were widely useful and profitable. Everyone had a goal of owning one or more extensive vineyards. However, the Shunammite woman was placed in responsibility for the care, cultivation, harvesting, and sales of her siblings' vineyards. She was seen as careful, detailed, and very diligent. From sunup to sundown, six days a week, she was busy caring for the vineyards of her siblings. I imagine that in her busyness, she did the planting, pruning, picking, and treading of the presses. She was so busy that she finally realized that she was not taking care of her own vineyard. Busyness is when we are over-occupied with responsibilities and we have neglected taking care of things most important to our lives.
We see the ravages.
“But mine own vineyard have I not kept.” When we are too busy, we can neglect our family and needed time with them. When we are too busy, we can neglect the upkeep of our home and it shows signs of deterioration. When we are so busy, we can neglect our personal health and let it become run down. However, when we are so busy, we can neglect our spiritual lives and souls. Our place of prayer is empty. Our Bible reading is missing. There is no fruit in our life, and there is lack of the fruit of the Spirit. We become irritable, impatient, and short with people. Our spiritual life shows all the evidence of personal busyness and pitiful barrenness.
We see the remedy.
First, be honest and realize that you are too busy. Many sincere, God-loving Christians can be like Martha and be so encumbered with serving that they don’t realize they are careful over much and have forgotten that which is important. Second, do not be so busy with work that you forget about the worship of our Lord. Take back control of your schedule and allot the needed time to nurture your spiritual life. Third, recognize what you might need to give up or give away so that the things that are most important are prioritized in your life. Fourth, clear out the overgrowth of weeds that have accumulated in your life and start planting the seeds of faith, love, and hope again.
We see the reassessment.
Neglect can recur over and over. Review your tasks the night before and establish when you will have your time with God, family, and personal responsibilities. Reassess on Sunday evenings the previous week’s accomplishments and schedule the following week’s priorities. Good time managers know that what gets scheduled gets done. Have an accountability partner you can confide in and discuss your time management with. It is important that reassessment is part of your scheduling or busyness will result in continuous neglect. Neglect can be overcome, but we must be circumspect and redeem the time. Take back your vineyard and enjoy the fruit of a nurtured soul.
Have a fruit-bearing God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Matthew 27-28