by Pastor Tim Burt
I have a very large garden and in the back of it, I have a little patio area with a table and chairs where I often go to read my Bible and write Fresh Manna. On that table I have a vase of flowers from my garden. I had cut and put Baby’s Breath and Zinnias in that vase because they make a beautiful combination. As I walked out to the table, I was reminded that they don’t last long. The water had turned green and the flowers were almost dead. The entire setting was beautiful except for that vase of flowers that had suffered from my neglect.
David teaches us something about neglect saying in, Psalms 119:16 (NIV) “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Remember that what David wrote was by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That means God intended us to learn from these words. He says we shouldn’t neglect His Word! The Bible also says we shouldn’t neglect wise counsel to protect us from our own stubborn ways. It also teaches us that we shouldn’t neglect the spiritual gifts—those talents and abilities within us to touch others with His love. His word teaches us not to neglect the godly relationships that become voices and examples to keep us in check and anchored in living a life for Him. And He with great warning teaches us to be careful not to neglect our salvation—His plan to bless our life and save us from our sins through Jesus. He says don’t neglect these things because if you do, how will you escape the life and its consequences you were heading toward before Jesus rescued you?
What does neglect look like? Well, it doesn’t seem bad until you look closely at things you’ve truly neglected. My vase originally looked beautiful but today it looked ugly. That’s what neglect does. Our relationship with Jesus could be a beautiful and wonderful relationship but neglect can make it feel dead. Marriages start out beautiful, but when the nurturing of the relationship that brought you to marriage is neglected, it can get ugly! Ouch! Too many of us know that first hand! And like-wise, significant friendships and relationships can suffer. The yard can become overrun with weeds. The garden can look like a harvest place for weeds. The house can become tattered and torn. That is the fruit of the cancer of neglect!
What do we do if we know we’ve neglected what we shouldn’t have? First, understand that neglect starts with yielding to feeling tired, followed by procrastination. If matures into a lack of healthy disciplines and becomes malignant with laziness. And finally It then turns to indifference and apathy equal to stage 4 a cancer for sure! Why do I compare it to cancer? Because neglect, like cancer, will eat away and destroy the quality of your life until you see no way out!
So how do we break out of the cancer of neglect? First, no matter what stage it’s in, acknowledge it to God and yourself! Tell the Lord you are sorry and ask Him to put you on a right path. It won’t be easy because your flesh will cry and scream as you begin to give attention to what has been neglected. Ask the Lord for His grace (His supernatural help) to help you! If you are sincere, you’ll find His grace and strength to begin to press through as you re-establish yourself!
Secondly, begin to thank God for all that He has blessed you with—especially those things which have become neglected. That could be your spouse, your children, your Bible reading, going to church, your job, your health and fitness, or friendships. It could be a number of things—things you’ve taken for granted and neglected. Think about the blessing it had brought and was designed to bring you by God Himself. When you’ve done that, take a series of small action steps to appreciate and embrace what you’ve neglected. Do it immediately, and immediately you will feel better! These small steps will help to begin to reverse your neglect and help you gain some positive momentum. Passionately embracing and loving that which is important is key to breaking neglect! It produces the beauty and blessing of that which God brought it into your life to bless you with in the first place. Get on this path again and you’ll soon feel refreshed and like a new person.
How can we neglect what God has given us and think we will get away with it? Only deception produces that kind of thinking. Know what’s right to do and ask God to strengthen you by His Spirit in your inner man to do it. Then stop neglecting and begin to make things beautiful! He’ll help you every step of the way! It’s His will.
P.S. I just changed the water and flowers on my garden table! It looks so beautiful again and makes me feel so much better!
Hebrews 2:3 (NKJV) “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt