Week 37 Thursday

A Dangerous Slumber

Today’s scripture selection: Proverbs 23-24

Key verse: Proverbs 24:33-34

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands and rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

When I read these scripture verses I think of the men and women I know – most of them older “salt of the earth” types – who can and often do work rings around me.

You know the type, don’t you?  Their house is always spotless; even the garage and attic are well-organized and “spic and span.”  Their car runs well, because they have just recently serviced it – themselves.  Their offices and homes are models of efficiency.  And always, always it is “early to bed and early to rise….”

I can get tired just looking at them.

No doubt, they believe in the wise counsel of this Proverb, warning of the poverty and scarcity that will jump on you like an armed bandit if you don’t keep busy at work.

But when I read the Proverb again, I see something else – something more than just a warning not to be lazy or disorganized.  I see a spiritual warning.

Rest, at the right time and in the right place, can be a blessing.  Work, at the right time and in the right place, can be a blessing.  It’s about balance.

And, just as we can reap the whirlwind by being physically lazy and slumbering too much – we can do so by being spiritually lazy and slumbering too much as well.

Spiritual disciplines are called disciplines for a reason.

They take time and effort and diligence.

So – take care.  Guard your prayer life and your time devoted to the study of God’s word.  Make worship and church fellowship a priority.  Serve others – not to look good – but to find a disciplined way to love others, just as God loves you.

And, while you allow time for needed rest – watch out for that “dangerous” kind of slumber – the one where you cease to pray; cease to study; cease to learn; cease to serve.

It can be deadly.

Prayer: Lord, awaken me to your love and to the opportunities to praise and serve you, each and every day.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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