Pastoral Letter 24 Apr 2022
My dear readers,
Wisdom and Diligence – Two Peas in a Pod!
Proverbs 10:15: “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.”
Laziness is a grievous sin and may arguably be considered as one of the hallmarks of the sinful nature. Ever since the fall of man, man has been trying to spend less and less time working and more and more time enjoying life, i.e. indulge in entertainment. Most of the entertainment created and designed by man is sinful in its essence. At first glance, it may appear harmless and might even have some physical benefits to the body, but at the end of it all it is designed to compete with the believer’s spiritual responsibilities to his Lord Jesus Christ. Believers need to remember that this is the world of the devil. Everything in it has a design that ultimately serves him and his evil agenda.
Using laziness as one of the most effective tools mixed in with a strong desire for recreational activities and entertainment, working hard is shunned and, if possible, to be avoided as best as possible. There are nations with welfare societies that indirectly promote laziness so that their citizens can enjoy life without working. When depraved man is given more time to do what their sinful heart desires, it will lead to more and more sins. The society will become corrupt as families will be destroyed by this “play-at-all-costs” environment.
A simple survey of the 21st century world will reveal this pervasive global trend. The Olympics (once every 4 years), World Cup (once every four years), the unending live telecasts of almost every sport, and the publicity promoting them with multi-million-dollar endorsements have generated a multi-billion-dollar industry that continue to snare generation after generation. Then we have the gambling mentality that keeps feeding this industry like an unending fuel to the global bonfire of greed. This seemingly harmless entertainment industry has spawned a cult of lazy people where no work or little work yet having easy money is not only acceptable but encouraged.
Christians have also been caught by this laziness cult where hard work is disdained as a necessary evil to keep body and soul together instead of being seen as a privilege and a God-ordained means of witnessing for Christ. Proverbs 10:5 rebukes many of us who possess this carnal sinful attitude toward diligence.
The one who gathers in summer is a wise son, but the one who sleeps in harvest is a son that brings shame. This is a picture of a farmer’s life of hard labour before harvest. Summertime is harvest time. The searing sun burns the ones who work in the fields. It is very hard work. It is gruelling especially when the desert hot wind blows from the east. After tilling the hardened earth after winter, planting the seeds carefully into the earth, and watering the land to ensure that the sowing is not in vain, the farmer waits patiently for the crops to arrive in summer. He has done all that is humanly possible. He waits patiently for the crops to mature, praying that there will be no locusts or any disease that might ruin their hard work as their livelihood depends on their annual crops and the seeds for the following year’s crops.
The farmer waits and watches. When he sees the crops growing well unto harvest time, he prepares himself and all his children and servants to harvest. It will be back-breaking work under the hot sun but if they were to delay, the crops can be ruined. All the hard work and expectations will be in vain and the family will be in want and even be ruined having nothing to eat for the rest of the year and no seeds left to plant for the next season. Laziness is not an option. There is too much at stake. Too much hard work has been put in. To let it go to waste by not harvesting in summer is foolishness. No matter how hard the labour, it is worth it, for there are many people and loved ones who depend on the farmer’s diligence.
But if the son sleeps on and refuses to work in the hot sun and allows the crops to spoil unharvested, he brings shame to his family as a foolish son. After all the hard work put in just for this harvest, he goes to sleep! He can sleep in the night and work in the day, but he deliberately sleeps in the day to avoid hard work. He is also the son who will inherit what his father will leave behind. If his father worked hard for him and needs him to help in the harvesting so that the crops will not be ruined, his laziness will be his own ruin. He will have nothing to inherit. The life of the farmer is diligence without end. The moment he stops there will not be enough seeds for the following year’s crops.
When this is applied to the spiritual realm, every servant of God is like a farmer’s son. Will he be wise and diligently serve the LORD while it is still day before the night comes and he will not be able to serve any more or will he be the son that brings shame to his heavenly Father and sleeps in harvest? Will or can a truly born-again child of God deliberately sleep in harvest when he knows very well that if he sleeps on, the hard work done by the Lord Jesus Christ in saving him will be “lost” to him even as he claims to have benefited from it by believing and receiving Christ into his heart? Sadly, it is possible as seen in the wasted life of Abraham’s nephew Lot, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding areas were destroyed by fire and brimstone. It is also seen in King Solomon who allowed the lusts of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life to consume him until he wasted his testimony for Christ. He penned his letter of regret in the Book of Ecclesiastes as a warning to future believers to not make the same mistakes he did.
Are you the wise or shameful son in Proverbs 10:5? How have you been serving the LORD at home, school, place of work and in church? Living for the mammon of the world is the life of a shameful son. He lives for all things temporal and at the end of it he leaves behind a trail of ruined and stumbled lives who will reject the carnal Christ he has portrayed before them. Or are you the wise son who lives in holiness serving the Lord faithfully and diligently, even in the face of persecution and adversities knowing the great price that Christ had to pay in order to save you? Believers are the fruits of Christ’s labour. He knew He was to be led as a lamb to the slaughter. He went willingly without making a sound of complaint. His life and death were not in vain.
God’s children are the “pleasure of the LORD” (Isa 53:10) that Christ saw that made all He suffered worth it all. Isaiah 53:10-12 reveals, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Let us all be wise children of God and be diligent in service for His glory. Amen.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew