Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest and have nothing.
There is a song that I remember from my childhood. An evangelist (whose name I can’t remember) visited our church when I was 7 or 8 years old. He could preach, play the piano, and sing. He sang a song and the chorus went something like this:
Excuses! Excuses! You hear them every day.
The Devil will supply if from church you’ll stay away.
When people come to know the Lord, the Devil always loses.
So to keep them folks away from church, he offers them excuses!
If you are anything like me it is easy to make excuses when there is something that we don’t particularly want to do. In fact, if we look hard enough we can always find an excuse. Whether its exercise, work, play, going to church, witnessing to the lost, reading your Bible, or taking time to pray, we can always, always, ALWAYS, find an excuse!
Billy Sunday once said, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” Oh, how true that is! In Proverbs 20:4 the Bible says that a SLUGGARD will not plow by reason of the cold. Now this man has found a “reason”. It’s cold outside! I can’t plow in weather like this! No man in his right mind would hitch their mule to the plow in these conditions. For my mule’s sake, and my health, I’ll wait for a warmer day. On the outside, this excuse seems plausible. I mean the weather can get very cold. Especially here in the great state of Maine. The problem lies not in the reason given, but the description of the man. God calls him a sluggard! He is lazy! He really has no desire to get out and plow, he only has a desire to benefit from the harvest. One day it’s too cold, and the next day it’s too hot. The third day he has other things to do and so on, and on it goes. Before he knows it the time to plow has passed, as well as the time to sow, weed, and water. Harvest has come upon him and he has nothing to reap. (Not that he would be willing to do that either!) So instead he goes and begs to partake in the fruit of other men’s labor. Verse 24 ends like this: “therefore shall he beg in time of harvest and have nothing.”. The result of his laziness, his excuses, his putting off of what needed to be done was that this man (this SLUGGARD) would likely spend a cold, hungry winter if he didn’t die of starvation His harvest or lack thereof was a direct result of his laziness. You see the principle here is that we reap what we sow, and if we don’t plow, sow, weed, and water we most certainly are not going to reap!
This theme is repeated in scripture because not only is there an application for our physical lives there is a much greater application to our spiritual lives. You can have an excellent work ethic. You can work from sunrise to sundown, but if you make excuses as to why we can’t serve God/worship God/share the gospel/be obedient to (Insert Commandment Here) then we are just like the sluggard. In fact not only are we like him, it means that we ARE him. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I already hear the excuses rising in our collective throats. I get it. Sometimes there are REASONS why we are unable to be at church. If you have the flu, or some other communicable disease, PLEEEEEASE stay home. None of us want it. If you are elderly and unable to get out of the house, watch from home, we broadcast live! But if you find reasons every week as to why you just can’t get out on Sunday morning/Sunday night/Wednesday night but you are able to make it out to go to the store/watch a movie/visit friends, then my friend you are a spiritual sluggard. This truth applies to witnessing, to serving, to giving, to all that God calls us to do. The real danger lies here in the spiritual application. One day we will stand before God as His servant, saved by the sacrifice of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ. Harvest will have come, but we were caught twiddling our thumbs and making excuses for why we have reaped nothing. We can beg all we want to be able to partake in the fruit of other men’s sweat, blood, prayers, and tears, but yet we will have nothing. There will be no fruit for our labors, for there was no labor. No sheaves of souls to be harvested and carried with us because we never plowed, planted, watered, or reaped. No rewards and no crowns to be cast at the Saviors feet. No commendation from the Father of “well done thou good and faithful servant.” Instead, in our guts will be a hunger which cannot be filled. In our hearts will be a sense of loss for what could have been. In our eyes will be the tears as we stand before the Savior ashamed and in our ears… SILENCE! All because it was “too cold”.
Today, I encourage you to take a hard look at yourself. Find those excuses you have been making! Be honest with yourself. The truth is We do the things that we believe are IMPORTANT. We make time for those things that we WANT to regardless of how cold or difficult it is. We MAKE those things happen if at all possible! So go out, hitch your mule to the plow and dig in!
Pastor Rob Richards
Fellowship Baptist Church
237 Eastern Ave.
Augusta, ME. 04330