By Gordon Hogan — A young mother left her baby in the shade of a big tree and went on her way working in the field nearby. Being busy, she forgot her child. When she finally returned, the summer sun had been shining for some time in the baby’s face and blinded it for life. The mother meant no harm, but she and her baby had to pay heavily for her neglect.
The Bible repeatedly warns of the danger of neglect.
Of all sins, the sin of negligence is the most dangerous.
Neglect is dangerous because of its deceptive nature. God’s people recognize murder, lying, drunkenness, adultery, and stealing as great sins, but are often deluded concerning neglect of the many deeds of righteousness that should be attended to. We are alarmed concerning sins of commission, but fail to become alarmed with sins of omission.
Neglect is dangerous because it requires no effort. Energy is required to involve a person in the sins of commission, but no effort in the sins of omission. For instance, it takes no effort to avoid those in need, ignore teaching all those to whom we have an opportunity to proclaim the truth, to fail to attend worship and Bible study periods, or to avoid doing whatever we have the ability to do in the service of God.
Neglect is dangerous because it is at the root of other sins. A cultivated field is free of weeds, but a neglected field is soon filled with weeds and thorns. The very best preventive against all forms of evil is the proper performance of our duty. When David of the Old Testament became idle, he was led into adultery with Bathsheba. When idle, we are liable to become fault-finders and sowers of discord among the people of God.
Neglect is dangerous because it is contrary to the spirit and purpose of the Gospel. The law of Israel said, “Thou shalt not.” The Gospel says, “Thou shalt.” The aim of many today is merely to “be good,” but the Lord wants us to “do good,” as well as “be good” (Acts 10:38).
Neglect is dangerous because negligent people will be lost. This truth is borne out when we read Matthew 25: 14-30. The servant of this parable was not charged with cruelty or immorality or dishonesty, yet he was cursed — cursed because he buried his talent, neglected his opportunity. You have heard the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Now we are asking, “What must I do to be lost?” In one word, “Nothing!”
If a boy falls into a fast, rushing river, he must put forth effort in order to be saved, but no effort is required to be lost. Man is already lost in sin (Romans 3:23). He needs only to neglect the means of his salvation to be eternally lost.
From Voice of Truth International, vol. 4, and Wadsworth OH church bulletin