"A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing."
That hit me hard when I read it last year for the first time. In relation to my kids, I mean. Young as they were, it was definitely plowing season. And I realized that if I didn't change something soon, I was not likely to find much at harvest time. At least not much of what I'd want to find.
It was early Friday evening, February 20, 2009. I know the date because I had been reading a Proverb for each day of the month. And I remember that it was Friday because I was reading it as my daughters' friend came knocking and ended up staying for dinner. You're probably wondering what's so memorable about that. And so the story begins...
See, Fridays had become a sort of unofficial "family movie night." We would lazily eat some not-so-nutritious meal in front of the TV while watching some form of a "family friendly" movie (i.e. some animated treasure such as Barbie and the Diamond Castle or something of the sort). It was a treat. For the whole family, actually. So when the aforementioned friend stayed for longer than the time I'd allotted in my head for said friend to stay, I was, shall we say, less than delighted. Annoyed is actually a more suitable description. That's when God took the Proverbs 20 verse 4 two-by-four and smacked me upside the head.
"A sluggard does not plow in season, so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing."
By now, dinnertime was quickly approaching, and so was my seven-year-old with the dreaded "can my friend stay for dinner?" question. And I realized that I had a choice to make. I could choose the work of plowing the field I'd been given in this season of my life as a mom. Or I could choose to be a slug. Oops, I mean sluggard. Now, you may think that after being smacked in the head by God with a two-by-four, the choice was all but made. Nope! I mean, yes, the friend joined us for dinner. But my spirit of true hospitality was more than lacking. In other words, I did not serve like Jesus wanted me to. I did not prepare the soil that is my children for the seeds of unselfishness, Godly hospitality, and wholehearted servanthood. I did not show them the true love of Jesus. His real life that is exhibited when I love and serve Him wholeheartedly. I might as well have made the friend go home and sent my kids to bed early.
As I (grudgingly) cleaned up after dinner, I started thinking about what exactly I hoped to find at harvest time. And I thought about how badly I want our home to be the one my kids want to hang out at with their friends when they're teenagers. I thought about my longing to see my kids really love Jesus and follow Him because they know that they know that they know that His ways are awesome and are the real and true LIFE.
And I realized that this is the season. It's plowing time, Bria! Time to get off my butt and plow the soil.
So I gave it to God. I mean I seriously talked to Him about it... about all of the opportunities I'd missed up to that point as a mom... about the accompanying guilt... about how difficult it was for me to enjoy my kids... about what a struggle I'd always found motherhood to be. And how I'd always, my entire career as a mom, felt like my life was on hold until my kids got older and more self-sufficient. As if this motherhood thing were a mere matter of survival -- daily surviving until my husband got home from work, weekly surviving until my next "time off" on any given Saturday, yearly surviving until my next weekend away. Instead of seeing those times away as opportunities to be refreshed, I'd always seen them as necessary respites from my job. Instead of seeing this season of my life as the short plowing season that it is, I'd always viewed it as a means to an end. Get through it so we can get to the good stuff. Namely, the nicely behaved, well-adjusted teenagers that they would one day be. Just get through it. Then I can enjoy it.
Only -- it's not like that. This is not survival I'm called to. It's motherhood. It's life. REALIFE. And when Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came to give "more and better life than (I've) ever dreamed of," there was no exception for moms of young children. He meant that I could have this more and better life right now. If I did it His way. And, on Friday, February 20, 2009, His way meant inviting a young friend to join our family for dinner and loving him like Jesus does.
And, everyday, His way includes making the most of every opportunity to teach and show my kids what Jesus' love is really like. By enjoying them. And loving them. And making right choices in my own life. By choosing to serve Jesus wholeheartedly, willingly doing the things He asks me to do.
Especially when He hits me upside the head with a two-by-four!
p.s. Check out the Saturday Evening Blog Post for some other really great blog posts from January. Enjoy.