A Little Sleep, A Little Slumber {DWITW 365}

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Last night I set my alarm clock for 6 AM. Sounds pretty normal, right? But no, it’s not for me. I’ve been an on again, off again alarm clock user ever since I’ve had my children. Usually my kids wake me up, or my husband wakes me up with “coffee o’clock” - that sweet morning tradition we’ve had since we were newly wedded - he simply sets down a fresh cup of coffee next to my bed which is my cue that the day has begun. So why in the world did I set my alarm this morning? Because God has given me vineyards! Let me explain.

Proverbs 24:30-34 reads:

“I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”

This is not the first time we have read this in the Proverbs. And I have learned the value in paying attention to the places God repeats Himself. By doing so, He is emphasizing a point, tilting our chin up to focus on its importance.

Proverbs 6:6-11 also calls out the sluggard and the wise:

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like and armed man.”

As I was reading this, I began a conversation with the Holy Spirit. “Hey God. I’m not sleeping enough as it is. Can’t I just sleep until I HAVE to wake up?” I think the answer is yes. I could sleep just a little longer. But according to Proverbs, that little sleep would make me a sluggard.

You see, work is a gift from God. We don’t need to work for our salvation, but we work as a form of worship. God created us with the drive to work in the very beginning. He also gave us common sense. But the Fall changed everything! It warped our common sense, and gave us expectations of blossoming vineyards without the need for worshipful work - work that God has blessed us with to be able to grow and maintain these very vineyards. In the miracle of your own redemption, He has also redeemed your work - not that you would toil out of fear or work for all your wants, but that you’d work as worship, that it would come from the overflow of your heart.

We have all been given a vineyard. Look around you. What has God given you to steward?

We have all been given a vineyard. Look around you. What has God given you to steward? It doesn’t take me long to identify my own -- relationships with a husband and children, a home, my church and community, this very ministry and the Hosea Bible study, and my body and health. I could go on and on. His goodness is astounding. When I stop to consider all the vineyards before us, I see two very important tools God gave for us to be able to tend them. First, God has given us common sense, and second God has also given us a Helper, the Holy Spirit. Sisters, it’s not only okay to rest, it is ordained by God that you do so. God has given BOTH work and rest, but this proverb indicates that there is something off about the sluggards’ balance of these two paradigms.

For instance, if I have kept myself up watching Netflix late into the evening and then I sleep past my alarm clock, then I am not tending my vineyards well. In fact, what I am actually doing is missing out on time for valuable, worshipful work. Now, is watching Netflix wrong? Nope. I love me some The Crown! But what does common sense and the Holy Spirit tell me after reading Proverbs? That my entertainment better not leave me un-rested for the work that God has set before me. That kind of “rest” is not of the Lord, because it is, in all reality, no rest at all.

On the contrary, if a baby kept me awake all night for three nights in a row, then I have been awake tending my vineyards of my children, and common sense would tell me to now tend the vineyard of my body by sleeping. Deep breaths, ladies. It is okay to rest. And when I am unsure, I can ask God to help me figure out the right choice, and trust His leading. My prayer is this: Thank you Lord for creating rest. Thank you Lord for creating work. Show me your discernment.

Our little choices are really the big choices, sisters. There are no little choices in the Kingdom of God.

Notice, it was not “a lot” of sleep that caused the sluggard poverty, but just a smidge. Our little choices are really the big choices, sisters. There are no little choices in the Kingdom of God. It was but two loaves and 5 fish that ended up feeding the 5,000. It was but one hand that reached out to Jesus’ garment that then healed the same woman that had bled for 12 years. It was just two coins that the widow gave that earned her praise from the mouth of Jesus and also served to convict all the stingy givers.

Like the ant, I don’t seemingly have any boss or ruler. As a stay at home mom, I have great freedom over my schedule. But the truth is, I answer to God, who sees all my choices, big and small, just as He sees the ants choices. So, for the joy set before me, I’m repenting of my loafing around, and I’m setting my alarm clock. I’m going to wake up to worship God in the middle of my vineyards...ahem...HIS vineyards.

So, sisters, let’s take time to consider even our smallest of choices, as the writer of Proverbs tells us to do, and hold them open to the Lord for instruction. Where are you folding your hands when God has given you no jurisdiction to do so? Yes, you absolutely can sleep a little longer, but make sure it is the Holy Spirit’s leading that you do so.

Epilogue: This morning my alarm went off at 6, and I woke up very proud of myself. I got up, read my Bible, and went on a jog, only to return and realize that my phone was still set to central time from our travels out west. It was actually an entire hour past when I thought it was!

Even when we try, we fall short, but He still chooses to bless our intentions and attempts at obeying Him.

Yet, praise God, He still blessed my mishap. He gave me time with Him, time tending to my body, all while my kids slept a little later than normal. Clearly, Jesus is the only one capable of perfect obedience. Even when we try, we fall short, but He still chooses to bless our intentions and attempts at obeying Him.

Rest your heart here, sister. God has not folded His hands on you, yet, and He never will. Where our hearts are sluggish, God’s heart is bound and determined for us. When you are not “feeling it” on a certain day, lean into Jesus. He is the one that gives us the blessing of obedience, and the blessings from obedience.

Jesus is the best alarm clock.

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Jillian Vincent loves Jesus. She's a wife, mother of two boys and a Dayton enthusiast. Jillian currently is a stay at home mama and spends nap times jotting on her blog and discipling other women. She would (almost) die for an avocado, a cup of coffee made by her husband, a novel that makes her cry, and a bouquet of sunflowers.