I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding. 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 24:30-31).
How could it be otherwise? Thorns and thistle, since the fall of man, spring up every where, to remind us of our rebellion against God, and the greatest industry can scarcely keep them down; but where slothfulness leaves them to spring up at will, the field must be covered with them, and every useful plant choked; or, if any thing useful for man springs up amongst them, it becomes a prey to every spoiler, because the stone wall is broken down and left in ruins.
Such is the situation of the sluggard’s field and vineyard; and spiritual sloth is productive of the like effects in the soul of man. If we are careless about our spiritual interests, our souls will soon be overrun with noisome and pernicious vice; and left without guard against those destructive enemies, “that go about seeking whom they may devour.” A neglected garden is disagreeable to the eye, but a neglected soul is a spectacle of horror. The stinging nettles of envy, the thorns of anger, and ungovernable passion, spring up abundantly in that scene of desolation. Every lust and every temptation have an uncontrolled influence; and the lion out of the bottomless pit wastes it at his pleasure.
But what pleasure could Solomon have in looking at the sluggard’s vineyard? He saw nothing that did not afford instruction to his enlightened mind; for wisdom teaches us to improve every object, however unpleasant, to useful purposes, and finds nourishment for itself even in the folly of other men.
From “Exposition of the Book of Proverbs” by George Lawson.