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Summary: There is no book in the Bible that has more to say about being ambitious & the lack of ambition than the book of Proverbs. (PowerPoints Available - #337)

MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER

RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK

(PowerPoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at mnewlande@sstelco.com and request #337.)

TEXT: Proverbs 24:30-34

There is no book in the Bible that has more to say about being ambitious & the lack of ambition than the book of Proverbs. And one passage, written by Solomon, that deals with that subject is Proverbs 24:30-34.

“I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.

“I applied my heart to what I observed & learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - & poverty will come on you like a bandit & scarcity like an armed man.”

We can clearly see the picture that Solomon is painting. With your permission, let me retell the story in modern vernacular.

ILL. I was out walking, & I noticed this house. It was beautiful. The lawn was well manicured, carefully fertilized, neatly mowed & trimmed.

The flowerbeds were gorgeous, & it had a large, flourishing garden. The house had been freshly painted, & all the windows were sparkling clean. It was a beautiful sight to behold!

But, as I continued walking, I couldn't help but notice the contrast with one of his neighbors. That house was in a bad state of repair. The lawn looked like it had not been mowed in months. The flowerbeds were full of weeds.

The house itself was badly in need of paint. There were holes in the roof, & some windows were broken.

As I approached that house & opened the gate, it fell off its hinges. Then I felt a sharp pain at my ankle, & discovered that the yard was full of thorns & nettles.

I saw a man sitting on the porch. I greeted him, "Hello, how you?" "Not good at all," he replied. "Everything is going to pot these days. The welfare system is a mess. They don't give me enough money. And I just don't have time to get anything done."

I replied, "Well, I do see that your place is pretty sad looking. You don't have much grass, but you could at least cut down the weeds, & patch things up a bit. And you do have plenty of room for a garden."

"Aw, I can't do that," he says. "You see, I'm worried about my back, & my muscles aren't as strong as they used to be. There's just too much to do."

So as we look at the man, & his house, his yard, & the garden area ? we realize that here is a man who simply has not done what he could & should have done. His house & garden & lawn were all neglected. And that is the subject Solomon is presenting to us ? NEGLECT.

Whenever neglect takes place, the process of decay automatically sets in. This is an important subject, so we are going to ask 3 questions about this man.

I. WHY WAS HE SO NEGLECTFUL?

First of all, "Why was he so neglectful?" And to keep this sermon from being so long, let’s concentrate on his garden.

A. I am sure that if we were to ask him about his neglect, he would probably have a variety of excuses.

1. Maybe he would say, "I don't have enough room for a garden." We know that isn't true, but that might be one of his excuses.

We would say, "Look, here is all this space that could be used for a good garden if only you would use it." "Well," he says, "I know, but it is not as big as my neighbor's, so I didn't even bother."

He had plenty of space for a garden, but he never utilized the potential that was there.

APPL. It is not hard to see that what Solomon is saying applies to our lives, too. God has given each of us a garden - our life, & we can plant good seeds or bad. We can make our life good, or we can make it bad. It is totally up to us.

2. Or this man might say, "Well, yes I do have room for a garden, but my ground just isn't fertile." (Now, some of us who live here in Flint Ridge might understand that, particularly if you have to use a pickaxe to dig a hole to plant flowers.)

He goes on, "If I planted some seeds, they wouldn't grow. I knew it would be a waste of time, so I decided not to try at all."

We could reply, "But if that is true, then how do you explain your tremendous crop of weeds? Ground that will grow weeds that big could also grow flowers & vegetables, because the same minerals that produce a healthy crop of weeds can also produce something worthwhile. That is not a good excuse."

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