We simply cannot afford to be lazy

Published 10:00 pm Friday, October 31, 2014

In a rather sudden notion, my wife and I decided to sneak away for a day together.  With no children tagging along, we took a two hour drive to the coast just to relax and focus on each other.

Even though we have been married for nearly four decades, it is still a thrill to get to know each other a little better.  We both had plenty of other things that we could have done at home, but taking a day to ourselves was more needful and I am glad we took advantage of the opportunity.

The day of our trip was beautiful; the sky was a perfect blue and the temperature was excellent for sitting on the beach under the shade of our two big umbrellas that we have hauled around for many years.  We could not have designed a better day if we had the ability to do so.

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I suppose nearly every good experience has at least a little hint of negativity, though, and so it was this time.

I am usually quite cautious about applying sunscreen when at the beach, but I allowed the pleasant breeze and pleasing temperature to lure me into a state of inattentiveness.

But when bedtime came I had a firsthand reminder that sweltering heat is not a requirement for sunburn!  And as a memento of our lovely day together I came home with two bright pink feet.

That experience only produced a little temporary discomfort that will soon fade away, although we are told that such episodes have the potential to bring bigger problems much later in time.

I suppose there is little that I can do about the long term consequences, but there is an important lesson to be gained for future reverence:  it is not wise to be too lazy to apply sunscreen no matter how lovely and peaceful the weather is.

In Proverbs 24:33-34 we find these words of wisdom:  “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man” (New International Version).

In the preceding verses the writer described his observation of the farm of a lazy man whose fields and vineyards had fallen into an unproductive state of neglect and ruin.

I find it interesting that the word “little” is used three times in verse 33 to describe what led to that state of shame:  a little sleep, slumber and folding of the hands.  It is a description of inattentiveness and laziness that ultimately brought disaster.

As I sat and enjoyed the lovely day on the beach, little by little the sun was damaging my skin because of my inattention to the precautions that I should have taken.

Spiritually, we must always be on the watch for those things that attempt, little by little, to be introduced into our lives and hinder us from being all that God wants us to be for Him.

It is far too easy for us to become so focused on the affairs of life that we get lazy and inattentive toward nurturing that which is most important—our relationship with God.

The writer of Proverbs 24 said that he “learned a lesson from what I saw” (verse 32).  May we all learn the lesson, too, that we cannot afford to become lazy toward keeping our walk with God healthy and unhindered by the sins that tempt us daily.