We all know the story of the frog in the pot. If you drop a frog into boiling water, it jumps out immediately. At the same time, if you put that same frog in a pot of cool water, and warm it up slowly, it will stay in and you get yourself a nice lunch of frog legs. I honestly don’t know if that is actually true as I’ve never sought to torture frogs, but we can all see the point. It is a general rule about life.
One of the incredible things about creativity is that there has to be a right mix of newness and oldness. If something is too old then it isn’t something that catches the eyes of the people, but if it is too new then people shun it and are often afraid of it. The same is true about society. In the book of Judges, you’ll find as one of the last stories being told, a man’s concubine is raped and left for dead at his doorstep. He gets up the next morning, takes the dead body home, dismembers it, and drops off the pieces at various spots throughout the twelve tribes. This abhors the people and they go to war. While this is one of the last stories told (Judges 18-21), chronologically, it goes at the beginning of Israel as a nation. What once abhorred people, all the decadence and debauchery, the carelessness of life, would eventually describe Israel and Judah as a whole. They would sacrifice their children to false gods. Sexual immorality was running rampant. And eventually the people out of desperation turned to cannibalism. How did it get there? It was s slow boil. The people were acclimated to just a little bit more evil.
Solomon made an observation one day as he walked around town. He came across a man’s home. It was pretty dilapidated. The weeds were grown up, the walls were broken down, and everything just look horrible. How did this happen? In wisdom, Solomon was able to figure it out. He knew that this mess did not happen over night; it happened because day after day, week after week, the man put off what was necessary. Time and again, the man decided to sleep in. He decided to do what was comfortable over what was difficult.
I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:30-34, ESV
What is the general principle, the general rule? If we keep putting off that which is necessary and difficult, one day life will be a bunch of weeds and thorns. If we cease to be diligent in what we are called to be and do, one day our world will come crashing down. It will happen as quickly as a robber. It will take everything from us. We were created for rest, but we were also created for work. If we lose the balance of work and rest, we eventually will boil in our own sin of restlessness or laziness. In the case of this proverb, we are being warned of the dangers of sloth. We are in the middle of a work week, only three days to go. Let us not slumber or fold our hands to rest as it can easily become a habit, but let us press on to the end.