They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept. ~Song of Solomon 1:6b
How many of us find ourselves so busy and occupied with so many things to do that we wind up neglecting our own care and needs? Families busy with the children’s schooling, the parents' jobs, and outside commitments many times wind up neglecting taking care of their household needs. Many of us find ourselves so busy with responsibilities that we tend to neglect our dining, exercise, and health needs. Our devotion this morning is about a young woman whose family made her take care of the family vineyards, but her own personal vineyard, or garden, wound up being neglected.
We see the source.
An unkempt vineyard is a powerful symbol of something of high priority in life that has been neglected. Mismanaged priorities can be a reason. This is when we have taken on so many responsibilities that we can only take care of the most pressing need. Excess busyness can be a reason for an unkempt vineyard. We can become so busy that we do not make the time to deal with things that should be important to us. Slothfulness is another reason for neglect. When we are slothful, we tend to let things slide. Another reason is when things of importance lose their urgency in our life. When reading our Bible and prayer are no longer urgent to us, we get used to spiritual dryness in our souls.
We see the signs.
“And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down” (Proverbs 24:31). There are visible signs. There is overgrowth, unwanted growth (thorns and nettles), and hindered growth (no fruit). You know when a garden has been neglected. There hasn’t been trimming, weeds and nettles have covered a once well-kept garden, and it just looks unsightly. Then, there are the virtuous signs. A soul life that is neglected is carnal and not spiritual. Your attitude is grouchy, punchy, and sour. You find it difficult to pray. You lose desire in coming to church, and the preaching is boring or “nonrelevant” to you. You are not bothered by sin, especially your own personal sin. Worse, there is a lack of fruitfulness.
We see the sin.
Neglectfulness is a sin. It is a sin that leads to other sins. Where neglectfulness is present, we see barrenness, bitterness, and carelessness. Where there is neglect, there is no praying. Where there is neglect, souls are not getting saved. Where there is neglect, our giving slacks off. Where there is neglect, we are missing in attendance at church. Where there is neglect, our hearts grow cold. Jesus said that when "iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Where there is neglect, things that are living start to die. Jesus told the church at Sardis, “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”
We see the solution.
First, see the signs of neglect. Second, repent of the sin of neglect. Third, remove the overgrowth, unwanted growth, sucker growth (bad shoots), and dead growth. Fourth, reset your priorities so that your daily discipline focuses on the things of importance. Fifth, live first to please God, and do not live exclusively to please people. Sixth, be a wise gardener. You must feed and water your soul daily. You must allow the Lord to prune your life. You must bring forth fruit and more fruit. Be careful of keeping so many other vineyards that you neglect your own.
Have a conscientious God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalms 21-25