30 “I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down.
32 When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction:”
It’s an interesting thing to consider…wise King Solomon receiving instruction at the unkept vineyard of the lazy man who is devoid of understanding. So often I think I pass by the unkept vineyards and nary offer a glance. Not so with Solomon. He is walking down the dusty road, gravel crackling under his sandals, and he has the wherewithal to stop at this field, this vineyard, and he considers it. He considered it for a good amount of time. He looked over it in it’s entirety, “And there it was, all overgrown with thorns”. Initial thoughts? “What a waste of a good vineyard. So much potential lost in the bountiful fruit that could be produced to provide for themselves, the employ of others, and a blessing and joy to the community. So sad.
He then looked beyond external glancing appearance and saw, “Its surface was covered with nettles”. Pain-causing, annoying, irritating things, nettles. What obviously began as fertile soil in which to grow grapes was now encumbered by nettles. Someone started off with a desire, a vision, and hard work to bring it all to pass…but now it is hard and unable to really receive anything of benefit to the vines, as the weeds will steal most of it. What vinedresser would even hazard walking these rows of vines, tending the precious fruit, when there are nettles overtaking the ground. How lonely this vineyard must be with none to lovingly tend it.
Then, almost as if a sudden, subtle shock, or a prick of the heart does he notice, “Its stone wall was broken down”. The sorrowful state of disrepair speaks of a callous indifference, a disregard of one’s rightful duty of caring for, and protecting this once precious vineyard. Time, neglect and other anxieties must have slowly crept in, unseeingly eroding the once solid boundary of this once prized and promising field. Winds, rains, predators, careless or curious passers-by…all taking their toll under the ever unwatchful eye of the one into whose responsibility and stewardship it was given.
May we all take the time to make the time to walk down the village road, intentionally observing our surroundings. And when we happen upon the unkept vineyard of the man devoid of understanding, may we pause a long while, for nothing is as worthwhile as receiving some sound instruction for our own lives and the lives entrusted into our care.