As I looked out my window this week, I saw a small bird hurriedly plucking off the last of the green shoots from our crepe myrtle. Summer is gone and the dry season comes on quickly. Shorter days, falling leaves, and empty nut shells left by industrious squirrels lead us toward the dark days of winter. The little bird was in a rush because there will be nothing green to collect in short order. The time for plowing and planting has past and those who sow can reap now to survive the times when nothing green can be found.
The Bible has quite a bit to say about sowing and reaping in the spiritual and earthly world. Solomon compares the prepared ant with the man too lazy to sow.
Better To Be An Ant: “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”-Proverbs 6:6-8.
Than A Slug: “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”-Proverbs 6:9-11.
Before we all got our food from the grocery store, farmers clearly understood this principle. Cows and pigs were slaughtered in early winter and the meat was smoked, salt cured, or in modern times, frozen to be ready all year. The produce of summer was dried or canned and put away to be enjoyed months later. This was no place for a slacker. The Spirit says in II Thessalonians 3:10 (ASV), “If any will not work, neither let him eat.” On the farm, if he doesn’t work in the spring and summer, he will not have the option of eating in the winter!
Notice how quickly disaster comes upon the sluggard. I am certain the lazy man looks around and wonders, “What happened?” Solomon compares his condition to a man beaten and robbed against his will. While in reality, his own actions led to his deplorable state. He was not ready when the day came in a worldly sense and that leads us to the book of Matthew.
Just before he died, Jesus prophesied God would destroy the city of Jerusalem by the hands of a foreign enemy. Our Lord said not one stone of the great temple would be left on another and history tells us Roman soldiers flattened every religious symbol in Jerusalem in AD 70. After this dire prediction, Jesus told three stories to remind us to be ready for the day of the Lord even though we can not know when it will arrive!
In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus praises a faithful servant who does the will of the master and warns an evil servant that when his master comes he will cut him in pieces, “when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know”-v50. In the first 13 verses of the next chapter, Christ illustrates our need to be prepared with the parable of the ten virgins. Much like our sluggard, five of the virgins did not bring extra oil for their lamps. The other half did. After a long wait, the bridegroom arrives and only the five wise virgins had oil to keep their lamps trimmed and bright. Jesus drives home the point with these words, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”-Matthew 25:13.
What about you and I? Are we ready for the Lord to come? Don’t say, “I can always repent tomorrow.” Don’t wait until the green shoots are gone and the darkness is her to stay. Put your hand to the gospel plow today. Sow the seed of the kingdom brother so you can reap at the last great day!