It was miserably hot and extremely dry, but all I could do was just keep easing along in 2nd gear trying to bush hog through the now head high iron weed and waist high pig weed. All I could think about (except where the next hidden bull hole or wasp nest might be) was how quickly the pasture had changed and what a waste it was to be cutting weeds where perfectly good grass had been growing and could or should have been growing again.
This same time last year, we had some beautiful and fleshy bred heifers and a group of fine yearling bulls on these same pastures and the grass was fine. In just eleven months since we sold most of our cattle and had moved off this particular farm, the weeds had taken over and had suppressed or completely overtaken these once beautiful pastures. Having to bush hog what could have been perfectly good pasture just seemed like such a waste, especially in a year when rainfall and quality grazing have been so rare.
When we dispersed our registered herd of cattle in September of 2011 to raise money for our mission work around the world, we did not have enough cattle left in our herd to justify utilizing the pastures on this particular farm which is off the main road and three miles from our main farm, so we just neglected it. We did not intend for it to grow up in weeds and we certainly did not sow any weed seed there, we just neglected it—not intentionally doing anything to hurt it, but also not doing anything to help it—we just ignored it. When my son and daughter-in-law who own the farm called and asked if we could do something about the eyesore around their home, we could not believe how the weeds had taken over, especially during such a severe drought, especially during such a short period of time.
Through the years, I have learned that neglecting or just ignoring other aspects of our lives almost always has similar consequences. I can think of so many good friends and beloved family members who I still love and have many fond memories of, but I cannot tell you where they are or what is going on in their lives. Somehow, for some reason, whether it be busyness, geographical distance or something else, I look back and see that I have indeed neglected my relationships with them and we are not as close as we once were. I did not and would not intentionally ignore them or neglect my relationships with them. I would love to see them again and be able to restore and catch up on what I have missed in their lives. But, unless I go back and intentionally restore those relationships, they will remain just memories. What could be valued, healthy, meaningful, and potentially life changing relationships will continue to be choked out by other things.
I look back at my own physical health and see the same scenario. If I had any idea that I would have lived so long, I would have taken better care of myself! I would have exercised more, eaten more nutritionally healthy foods, drank fewer soft drinks, and rested more. Well, I am still alive and I still have a chance to affect my physical health. If I want to be healthy in the future, I can either make more healthy choices from this point on or I can continue to ignore or neglect my health and continue to suffer for it.
The same truths apply to our spiritual health. Looking back, I wish I had spent more of my time praying, studying God’s Word and just being still in His presence, learning to better hear His voice and nurturing my relationship with my Lord Jesus. I am thankful for all the opportunities the Lord has given me to serve Him in ministry around the world, but I know that He could have used me much more effectively and the work would have been much easier on me, if I had spent more intimate time with Him, growing our relationship and seeking His guidance and wisdom. There is so much more that He wanted to do and would have done if I had just taken the time to seek His will and ask Him to accomplish His will in and through my life! He has said, “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:23-24).
The Bible also makes it clear that we do not have to reject Jesus or the salvation that comes through what He has done for us through His birth, the giving of His life, and His resurrection from the dead, in order for us to be lost and in danger of eternal judgment--we only have to ignore or neglect Him! In the Gospel of John, Jesus said: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already!” We are already lost and hell bound—we do not have to do anything intentionally to ‘get lost’ or go to hell, but we do have to personally accept what Jesus has done for us to inherit salvation and eternal life in Heaven. Hebrews 2 makes the same point: “How shall we escape if we ‘ignore’ such a great salvation”?
God still loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. No matter your age or whatever good or evil you have done in this life, you have at least one more opportunity right now to start over, to be born again, to be forgiven and to make everything right between you and God. You can by faith and repentance at this moment accept the forgiveness and eternal life Jesus purchased for you. To ignore or neglect this wonderful gift would be more than a terrible waste!