9 November 2021

Proverbs 24:30-34

I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

The “little sleep” and “little slumber” and “little folding of the hands to rest” end up being the primary activities of the sluggard. He does not tell himself that he will loaf and do no work. He thinks to himself that he will work, and very hard, but first just a little rest. Or better yet, “I think I will watch TV for just a few minutes, just to relax for a moment.”

We see such workers in the workplace. He comes in late. When he does come in, he needs time to settle in. He likes to chat. He glances at his email before he gets started in his work. There’s a funny article he’s found. He looks at the day’s work and comments on how much he has to do. They need to hire more workers. How can they expect one person to do all he has to do? The previous employers he worked for had the same unreasonable expectations, as did the employers before. In fact, he has had the unfortunate luck of always working for unreasonable bosses.

What describes you? Are you known for the consistent, good work you do, whether it be in the workplace or home or school? Or are you “plagued” with people having too many expectations? Circumstances do play in, to be sure. But more often than not, the work you produce or fail to produce has more to do with your attitude than anything else. The little breaks you take add up to more than you realize. And these breaks may be the real reason you fail to get the promotion or make the grade. Examine yourself before you blame your circumstances.


Psalm 102

Hear my prayer, Lord;
    let my cry for help come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
    when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
    when I call, answer me quickly.

For my days vanish like smoke;
    my bones burn like glowing embers.
My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
    I forget to eat my food.
In my distress I groan aloud
    and am reduced to skin and bones.
I am like a desert owl,
    like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake; I have become
    like a bird alone on a roof.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
    those who rail against me use my name as a curse.
For I eat ashes as my food
    and mingle my drink with tears
10 because of your great wrath,
    for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like the evening shadow;
    I wither away like grass.

12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever;
    your renown endures through all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
    for it is time to show favor to her;
    the appointed time has come.
14 For her stones are dear to your servants;
    her very dust moves them to pity.
15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
    all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion
    and appear in his glory.
17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
    he will not despise their plea.

18 Let this be written for a future generation,
    that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:
19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high,
    from heaven he viewed the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners
    and release those condemned to death.”
21 So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion
    and his praise in Jerusalem
22 when the peoples and the kingdoms
    assemble to worship the Lord.

23 In the course of my life[b] he broke my strength;
    he cut short my days.
24 So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
    your years go on through all generations.
25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end.
28 The children of your servants will live in your presence;
    their descendants will be established before you.”