Friday, January 4, 2013

The Consequences of Neglect

Burning Bush
We all have those times in life when we find ourselves dealing with the ugly consequences of neglect and procrastination.  Truth is we all have areas of neglect we need to deal with.  The problem is realizing we have a problem! Our big neglect problem was our landscaping.

When we moved into our home many years ago, the hedge of Burning Bushes was below the fence line. Not knowing much about that particular type of bush, we were afraid to prune it.

Over the years, we’ve tried to ignore it. Consequently, it grew and grew and grew, until it was over our heads.  Then we trimmed it lightly. Unfortunately, despite our pitiful efforts, it kept on growing taller and taller. Plus it started popping up all over the place! Every time we pruned a new stalk, it grew back with multiple branches!

Our Burning Bush is beautiful in the fall when its leaves turn scarlet, but it has been a major stress factor in our lives. It has symbolized all the other areas where we had neglected work that needed to be done.

This year we finally took the plunge and pruned this monstrosity almost to the ground. We were at the point where we didn’t care if it lived or died.  It had to go or become more manageable!

After we discovered how easy it was to take a chain saw to cut it down to size, we kicked ourselves for being so timid and neglectful. This bush had not brought joy, but misery, for it was a constant reminder of our failure to maintain control over our landscaping.

The Bible says in Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much …”

Neglect is not visible at first.  In fact, it is easy to become neglectful because no one does notice at first.  So many factors come into play when we start trying to figure out where we went wrong.

Neglect is not something we plan for; it’s a condition that occurs when we do nothing. Other activities take over our lives before we even realize what’s happening. It’s the small things that tend to trip us up the most. Then we begin to form a habit of procrastination and neglect of our duties. We are unfaithful in carrying out our responsibilities.

For some the biggest area of neglect is their spiritual life.  Forgetting to read the Bible daily or to spend quality time in prayer contributes to spiritual neglect.  We can’t attend church on Sunday and expect to have all our spiritual needs met.

If we want a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus, we must plan time with Him.  When our focus is not on Him, we are prone to becoming entangled with worldly pleasures and entertainment, leaving no time for Jesus or His work for us.

It is time to repent of our sin of neglect, realizing that being faithful in all our ways is pleasing to our Lord. Let us discipline ourselves to take care of issues as soon as they crop up, lest we procrastinate and leave our duties undone.

Dear Lord,

We thank you for reminding us how important it is to be faithful in the seemingly small things of life. We ask your forgiveness for neglecting our relationship with You. We confess we have not been faithful to pray and read our Bible regularly. We haven’t relied on You, but have exercised our own will and failed miserably to accomplish all we must.  Help us to prune out the sins of unfaithfulness and procrastination. Help us tackle our daily tasks with zeal and enthusiasm, refusing to allow ourselves to be tempted to put them off. Help us to be faithful servants in every aspect of our lives. We look to you, O Lord, for strength to persevere when we are tempted to seek our own way. Thank you for your constant faithfulness! —Linda Hull of Words of Encouragement

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