Prepare your field!
Focus on the important things first!
I love Proverbs because it gives us such great advice. It is hard to duck the lessons that Solomon is teaching his son. In Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare your work outside, And make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house.”
What did the Israelites understand from this? Well, think about what they had to do. When you arrive in a new land, one that has not been cultivated before, you find woods. Lots and lots of trees which is great if you like shade but if you plan to grow some crops, you will need to cut them down and pull out the stumps. I don’t know if you have ever pulled stumps out of the ground but it is very, very difficult. So, when the young man arrives at his new piece of property, he looks it over and sees lots of trees. He envisions a large field with corn or wheat or vegetables all nice and green but all he sees in front of him is a forest.
Well, sharpen the ax and start chopping! After a whole morning of hard work, he chops down his first tree. Well, good for you! Now get the stump out of the ground! He decides to pull on it, nothing doing, it doesn’t even budge! Hook the mule to it, nope, doesn’t move. So, he realizes that he needs to get the shovel and dig around the roots, cutting them one by one. Digging, cutting, pulling; digging, cutting, pulling…. Over and over again. By the end of the day, the stump is still there.
The next day, he gets up and sees the stump, right there. Well here is where the wisdom of Solomon (and God) comes into play. Our hero is sorely tempted to just start using the wood that he cut down to build his house. Why not? We have the wood, we could easily just build a house, right over the stump! Maybe we can use it for a dinning room table? How about that?
But what does the proverb say? “First work in the field, then come and build your house.” You see the wisdom in this is that once that field is cleared it will require little work to keep the field producing. Much less work than clearing the woods. We are tempted to work on our house first. Not only is it easier, it is more rewarding to have a nice house, nice surroundings, nice everything!
But, No! we must work on the field first. What is your field? Well, if you look at the situation for our young hero you will see that his field was his “income stream”. That was what was going to help him produce income, year after year. In accounting terms we call that an “Asset”. God tells you to work on your income stream first. That could be your education, it could be starting a business, it could be putting in extra hours at work in your first few jobs in order to get some experience. It could be spending some time at night learning about your industry or teaching yourself a new skill.
What is your house? Your house is spending time and money on your own pleasure, the things that do not produce anything for you but you like to have/do them. It could be your computer games, spending time hanging out with your friends, even spending time dating that special girl in your life. Well, Solomon says, “Work on your field first!”. You are at the beginning of your journey, whatever you do with yourself now will pay off year after year. If you can clear a few more acres now, while you are young, you will have a bigger “field” more productivity.
So, put that verse together with Lamentations 3:27 “It is good for a man that he should bear The yoke in his youth.” And you have one of the formulas for success: Work hard when you are young and get your fields cleared so that your income stream will help you as you grow older, get married, have children and become a blessing to others.
What stump do you need to get out today?
Enjoyed this post? Let me know on twitter or grab some RSS.