CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

April 6, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Sloth #4: Are We Sowing Seeds?


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN STUDY: 7 DEADLY SINS

SLOTH #4:  ARE WE SOWING SEEDS?

MONTE W. HOLLAND

INTRODUCTION

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

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THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

SLOTH #4

ARE WE SOWING SEEDS?

SCRIPTURE: When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. (Psalm 126)

Let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

DEVOTION: The sin sloth has its opposite: virtue, zeal.

     Zeal is a very energetic word. A zealous person is often perceived as a leader who very visibly energizes the crowd around him into action. I often associate zeal with a short time. A quarterback with zeal leads his football team to a winning touchdown in the last two minutes of the game. Campaign workers with a show of zeal energize the voters in the closing hours before the election.

     Yet, in today’s scripture lesson, we see zeal in a different way. It is still the antidote to sloth, the failure to offer continuing and appropriate attention to God’s work. However, this zeal functions in the

trenches, an out of sight kind of commitment to toiling in God’s field. How many times have I not done my best because I don’t expect to see the harvest? Did I fail to set in motion good reforms in a church I was pastoring because they would take at least five years to bear real fruit, and I expected to be gone in two years?

     In the last church I served I tried to sow the seeds. I encouraged the staff-parish relations committee to become very aware of their opportunity for growth with a new pastor ,and I met with the new (young) pastor to encourage him and to suggest some of the seeds he might sow to strengthen the congregation. Like many seeds we sow, I don’t really know how many took root. But does my knowing really matter?

     The Galatians verse put it right, puts it on the bigger scale. For most of us, I suspect harvest time will not come until death, that transition to eternity. Until then the challenge is to not grow weary in doing what is right. God works on a larger time scale than we do. Are we living as though what we do and the choices we make are important for our children and grandchildren and even out to the seventh generation to come, as many Native Americans teach?

     Sloth spurs us to do much less, and to give up. God would have us do better. God has the highest expectations of each of us.

PRAYER:  God, help me to get a big enough picture of you. Turn me aside from thinking only of myself and my comfort. Show me what you have in mind for me each day and give a solid kick in the direction of doing your will, no matter how unimportant the task may seem to me. Amen.

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To read the previous devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Gluttony #4: In Whom Do You Trust?

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Greed #4: What Profit Do You Seek?

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ADDITIONAL READING:

A Theological Perspective on Child Abuse

Desert Storm: How it Affected My Life

Children of courage: May They Rest in Peace

A Different Face of Homelessness

Fess Parker and the Coonskin Hat Craze

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