Tend the Field
I read a story some years ago about early Christians on the continent of Africa. As the story goes, many of the men began to gather for prayer each day in a specific field near their village. Over time each man created a path through the high grass from their home to their prayer destination. After a while the path was completely worn down to the dirt due to the frequency of their time in prayer. However, it was said that if someone began to neglect their prayer time some of the men would say to the one who had been absent, "Brother, the grass in your path is beginning to grow." What a powerful reminder to us all that when we neglect certain "fields" in our life we quickly see a change and so can others.
The Bible speaks to this issue with warning in the 11th chapter of 2 Samuel. The Scriptures tell us that it was the spring of the year and a time when armies went to battle against one another. Obviously these armies would be led by their king and best warriors. However, King David is not with his troops. Instead, we find him back at the palace and caught in a major trap of temptation. The point to take note of in this scenario is that David was tending to the wrong field. In other words, he wasn't where he was supposed to be. The King should have been found on the battle field with his men, leading them to success and defending the kingdom God had given David charge of.
The same holds true for Christians as well. We have to be in the right field and not tending fields we have no business being in. Sadly, instead of being on the battle field we find far too many believers on the ball field, the dating field, the career field, the entertainment field, or the education field. In and of themselves there is nothing wrong with these fields, but when they supersede our time on the battle field they become a weapon for our adversary and not a field of ministry. You see, the battle field is where we defend the faith, fight off the wolves of false teaching, protect our families, guard the gate of our ministries from invasion, and shield our minds and hearts. David failed in this arena and suffered greatly because of it.
I want to look at three distinct "fields" we find King David in and why these "fields" are detrimental to our walk with Christ as well. Instead of being on the battle field we first find David on the "field of laziness." He was at home, sleeping on the job, and consumed with idleness. David was spending precious time away from the important field of battle and this lead to decay and defeat in his heart and spirit. His spirituality was dying and David never noticed. How tragic! Battles were raging all while he laid comfortably in his bed. Similarly, battles for our children, the authority and truth of Scripture, our churches, our unity, our marriages, and our ministries are being fought all around us, yet we continue to tend the wrong fields. Proverbs 24:30-34 warns us, "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall they poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."
Once he left the "field of laziness," David then made his way to the "field of lust." He had the opportunity to turn away from Bathsheba when he first saw her bathing, but instead David gives a second thought to a second glance and the enemy hooked his perverted imagination. This temptation gives way to action and before you know it, the king had committed adultery. This "field of lust" is the devil's playground, particularly for men. Time would fail us to mention the heartbreaking statistics of pornography and sexual immorality which plague our nation. The truth of the matter is that it wrecks more than just the participants. This is a field of fire and burns down marriages, children's innocence, ministries, testimonies, friendships and so much more. But please don't think this field is that small because lust comes in more forms than just sexual perversion. This field also includes lust for power, possessions, lifestyles, social acceptance, and anything we place unrealistic and unbiblical value on. Looking back over his life, I'm certain David would have given anything to put himself on the battle field that day instead of the "field of lust."
The final field we find King David on is the obvious culmination of his string of bad decisions and that is the "field of lying." David refuses to own up to his sin and begins to find a way out. He succumbs to lying by deceiving Bathsheba's husband, Uriah (a loyal and dedicated soldier) and ultimately leading him to his death on the battle field for the nation of Israel. An unnecessary ending for such a faithful husband and servant of the Lord and his country. This entire "field of lying" is rooted in pride. David felt he needed no help, no input, and no forgiveness for what he had done. We see a man unprepared for temptation and its consequences. We see a man unreasonable as he quickly scrambles for excuses and schemes all while making one poor decision after another. We also see a man unrepentant of sin and even more shocking is that his soul's stubbornness would continue for nearly an entire year!
Thankfully, though with many repercussion from the onslaught of sin, David finally came back to God through sincere repentance. Praise the Lord for the Nathan's of this world who will love us enough to tell us the truth even if it hurts. Scripture plainly teaches in Proverbs 27:5 "Open rebuke is better than secret love." David, just as those early African Christians did, was reminded that his grass on the path to the field which he should have been in was beginning to grow. God help us to never abandon the battle field and be found in fields we simply do not belong in. Pray for grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit to always keep us in check and never let us abandon the field we ought to be found in. Tend to the BATTLE FIELD!