"He who farms his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows futilities has no sense" ~ Prv 12:11 (CJB) "He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding" ~ Pv 12:11 (KJV)
**” Heb.” denotes the Hebrew root word
He who farms (Heb. ‘abad = to cultivate, to till) his land (Heb. ‘adamah = from the root word ‘adam = earth, ground, also the name of the first man); will have plenty of food (Heb. ‘savah = satisfied or satiated). But he who follows (runs after, looks up to) vain persons (Heb. ‘reyq = worthlessness) is void of (Heb. ‘chacer = has need of) understanding (Heb. ‘leb = reflection, conscience, determination, mind)
Genesis 2:7 states that the first man, as we know was formed of the dust of the ground. The English word “ground” used here is the Hebrew word “adamah”. A few verses below we can find the very first assignment ever given to man (Heb. ‘adam), or mankind in a more general sense: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it.” (Gen. 2:15). We will focus on the term “cultivate” for this discussion.
I absolutely love the book of Proverbs in the Bible. In fact, it is the first book that I ever read top to bottom following my salvation. At that time, I was in serious need of direction and wisdom in my life, and frankly I still am. There will never be a time when we can claim not to need wisdom and direction, at least not when our lives foundation hinges on our faith in the Lord Jesus; the walk of faith is one that requires wisdom. I love this book because it is so rich in practical wisdom that is readily applicable in daily, real life situations without the necessity of a third party for interpretation: God’s wisdom as plainly written simply works; I am sure King Solomon would attest to this truth. I realize, each time that I read a chapter in Proverbs that many of the questions I have spent a decade looking answers for, are inked in those 31 chapters (that makes it one for each day of the month). It has become clearer for me that every man-made principle for success or adequate living in society traces its roots back from God’s ancient wisdom; it is absolutely remarkable and evident that truly “What has been is what will be, what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). But I’ll cut the chase and get to the point.
Let us turn our focus to Proverbs 12:11: "He who farms (cultivates) his land (‘adamah) will have plenty of food, but he who follows futilities has no sense". I am one that believes that anything that is repeated or said more than once by a person and even more so in the Word of God is to be taken with a great level of importance. There is another proverb that rephrases this statement, in verse 19 the 28th chapter and it goes “He who farms his land will have plenty of food but he who follows futility will have plenty of poverty.” Alright let’s dig in.
In agriculture, cultivating the soil (land, ‘adamah) is a vital task. In fact, most soils aren’t ready to produce plants or trees unless they are preliminarily cultivated or tilled. Cultivating as a practice accomplishes two things: firstly, removing weeds from the soil and secondly, loosening it to optimize the retention and penetration of water, air, and nutrients. The need for cultivating is found in the fact that nature over the course of the time takes a toll on the soil in the form of foreign (non-organic) junk, rain, foot traffic, etc. These contribute to compact the land over time, therefore resulting in a hardening of its surface. A by-product of this practice is that weed seeds (unwanted or bad seeds) are brought up to the surface and therefore exposed, causing them to die when left on the surface. This in turn ensures that the good seed will compete less for water and nutrients and is therefore able to be optimally fed to produce a healthy plant.
If you have lived long enough to make sense of this writing, it is no denying that in a similar fashion, the course of life has several ways to take its toll on us: work, friends, daily busy-ness, emotions, and so forth. I would be doing you a disservice by trying to enumerate all of the things that can contribute to us being weary of life. Examining this verse on a spiritual level, it occurred to me that beyond a mere agricultural precept God is trying to address the condition of man. He is encouraging us to cultivate our own land; our own ‘adam, our own man, our own selves, or in other terms our inner man. Furthermore, He promises that anyone who does so will have plentifully. And He concludes by stating that those who follow worthless things or persons lack understanding, or in other words they lack in themselves, thus successfully achieving a state of poverty: they do so because they do not develop themselves. They do not develop themselves because the tree that was placed in them cannot be grow. That tree cannot be grow because its seed’s growth has been choked by the worthless activities and persons they are after (weeds) and the resulting state of barrenness they are in (hardened soil). The soil here is our inner man (our soul, including our emotional, intellectual, and mental framework).
Essentially God is saying that the person who cultivate themselves (by way of developing their intellect or learning and perfecting a skill, and emotional intelligence) will have plentiful in themselves, for themselves, and to offer. In contrast, the ones who follow (look up to, pattern, observe, practice, envy, idolize, revere) after worthless things or relationships are doing so because they do not know the worth of the seeds God buried within them: they lack sense. Elsewhere the Bible says that it is for lack of knowledge that God’s people perish. Said otherwise, lacking sense and a depravity in skill, intellect, or emotional intelligence inevitably leads to an abundance of void internally, and externally. If those had sense, they would be investing their time into cultivating their minds and souls in order to create an environment that would facilitate their growth and realize their Kingdom value (God’s seed in them).
Now, notice how God used the word “futile”. Something that is futile is worthless, and something worthless is something of either no added value or less value. Which leads me to the analogy of weeds on a non-cultivated land. Weeds reduce the amount of water, air, and nutrients that would’ve been otherwise available to the good seeds. In our language, this refers to distractions or things that diverts us from focusing our resources to nurturing the seeds of greatness within us. It will take us to take a hard look at our lives with an honest lens to cut off the worthless things and relationships that compete with our greatness. It is then apparent that takes a particular skill to purposefully align our leisure time, our relationships, our activities in order to produce the fruit God has planted in our ‘adam. Whatsoever thing or person that do not participate in accomplishing what God assigned you to do on this earth is a distraction. I do not care how good that thing or relationship feels. Something good isn’t necessary of God or from God. How so? Eve was attracted to the good side of the fruit: we know the rest of the story.
It is not to say that we must become opportunistic and fake in our relationships. My point is, if we are able to create time to purposefully develop and invest in our inner man, we will almost automatically be engaged in valuable activities and relationships in which faking will not be your first priority: in the Kingdom it is all about giving. So, as you engage in a meaningful activity or relationship you’re giving as much as you’re receiving because the accomplishment of other person’s God-given purpose is also tied to being in interaction with you. Get it?
God has already provided seeds for everything that we ought to be inside of us. Yet we have been mistakenly taught that success is found outside of us and that causes us to live a life that religiously consists of racing after external things in order to find ourselves when all along, the root of the issue is that we are not taking enough time to identify, develop, or rather cultivate our own treasure land.
In the French language is it common to hear folks say of someone who displays a brilliant intellect that “they are a cultivated person.” This means they have forcefully taken the time to remove the weeds (distractions in their lives) and are tilling the ground of their souls and intelligence by feeding it with knowledge or skill. That’s why they have no time. Not to be confused with being “busy”. They have assigned value to their time.
See, when we are skilled or knowledgeable in some discipline people will discern it. All of the sudden, if we perfect a skill or acquire practical knowledge that can translate to enhance the lives of others, we will become valuable and non-exchangeable. This is one of the main reasons why many have jobs, making lots of money yet they are miserable: They are feeding off the wrong soil! A job isn’t the same as work and work requires a body of knowledge and self-discipline far more superior than a job does. At a job you are paid to do what you are told to do, whereas your work or vocation is you being valued for simply being who are called to be. The latter is much harder but more rewarding and fulfilling.
This has nothing to do with obtaining a college degree by the way but more so self-development, training, or skill development. You will realize that as you engage in this process the Word of God will even begin to stand out in unique ways in your life because there is truly only one person on this earth that can do what you are called to do and do it the way only you are able to do it: I hope you know by now who that person is. In essence the world is dying without your unique gift being cultivated, nurtured, and manifested: for “the whole creation waits expectantly for the sons of God to be revealed” (Romans 8:19). This includes yourself by the way because you are part of the marvelous work of creation; thus, you are slowly dying inside because your inner man is also dying to produce. When God said to man “Be fruitful” He also meant to say be productive. And if He said “Be fruitful”, knowing that there can’t be no fruit without a seed it implies that He has already provided the seed(s) for the simple fact that He will never give man a vision without first making provision for it.
This is why the first recorded task that Adam performed did not involve the use of his physical strength, rather it was one that required mental faculties, an intangible skill: He produced the name of every beast that God brought to him; this was an intangible task. It is quite impressive that the names Adam gave to the beasts are still in use today and will remain: we are talking about an eternal accomplishment by the work of his mind, his intellect. How much time did Adam spent thinking, pondering, all kinds of sounds and names to himself is unknown. But looking at the variety in the animal kingdom it takes no calculus to see the genius of his inner man translated here by his imagination, his creativity.
Contrary to popular belief the key to your success isn’t outside of you, running after money or people with money, or simply even spending our lives vainly studying and watching others excelling at what they do (If that’s what you do and you are tangibly getting valued for it, then I’m not talking to you here). But in order to use the platforms that they are using to dull you to many degrees by keeping you on their tail so much that you spend no time to develop yourself, yet you know everything and anything concerning their lives, habits, what they said yesterday or ten minutes ago (yes, you guessed it: unproductively being on social media), what they wear, what they eat and so forth, to even spending hours in heated debates about people who not only have no idea that you exist, suck up your time, and on top of it can do nothing tangible to advance your destiny is, according to the wise man in proverbs: lacking sense and will inevitably lead you to master poverty of spirit and material.
There is a vast treasure buried in your land, your ‘adam, your inner man. But it takes diligence and skill to bring it out. In another publication I will elaborate a bit more on the skill itself but I hope I was able to accomplish two things from this writing: firstly, provoking you and secondly, get you to take ownership of your time and make it a point to discover your value.
Let us stop looking elsewhere, following and engaging with things and relationships that distract us from dressing the garden placed within us, and instead let us cultivate the inner man with activities and relationships that participate to enhancing our potential and that of others. The kingdom of heaven is within you. Discover what aspect of the kingdom you are designed to display here on earth, cultivate it, and bring it out for the world to benefit. After all, we are called to bear fruit, much fruit.
Pray with me:
Father I thank You for choosing my life as a solution to others. I thank You for making the provision for the vision. I thank You for the grace You have given me to see this day and make it new. I thank You for giving me the faculty to be productive. I ask You to forgive me for misusing the time You have given me, for burying the treasure You have placed within me with futilities. Heavenly Father, I ask that You help me to wake up and produce the fruit You have deposited within me. I thank You for giving me the discernment I need to identify the weeds in my life, and I thank You for the courage and resolute mind to cut them off. I thank you that as I create more time for You, that You will make known to me Your purposes in me, for me, and through me. I ask for a spirit of discipline, self-worth that will result in enhancing others’ lives, and for the ability to identify the worthy activities and relationships that I ought to be involved with to the glory of Your Son Jesus. Let it be so, In Jesus name.