Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
Foxes sometime in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think is little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.
As Christians, compromising in the work place and in our work ethics in little things, is an area that can be an open door for the enemy to gain an advantage over us. This "little fox" is so common place that many Christians are not only failing to recognize it but are also guilty of it.
When Christian business men work hand and hand with Christian employees by Biblical work ethics and standards, it produces a just and fair work place. In the past when our nation had a strong Christian influence this combination led to our nation being known for quality workmanship. Other nations were seeking to buy merchandise with the "Made in U.S.A." label. Because our nation as a whole has turned away from its moral standards and we have failed in our Christian influence in the workplace, everyone is suffering.
Christians are mocked because we do not exemplify a Biblical standard in our business lifestyles. How are we to witness and share the gospel of Christ if our work habits are not exemplary?
Many of the younger generation were not taught proper work habits and now have difficulty in holding a job. Children's messy rooms are a symptom of how a generation of parents has neglected to teach their children this truth while they were growing up.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when his is old, he will not depart from it.
The key in this verse is the word "training." Training involves more than just teaching. The best teachers teach not only the procedure for doing a job, but also a set of values for producing that job.
Whatever reasons we give for our neglect in training our children, the truth is we did not take the time needed to train our children properly. We are a world in a hurry which is a big hindrance to good workmanship. Slothfulness, shoddy workmanship and disorganization reflect a lack of caring. Many people take short cuts that hamper the quality of the job, just to finish the task so they can eliminate any problems of the moment. Later the job must be repeated which wastes time because the job was not done right the first time.
We need to teach our children not only how to do a good job, but also train them to do their best. Teaching is simply communicating knowledge, while training involves conveying a value system. Good teachers who teach moral values along with proper instruction produce quality schooling and the best workers.
If we as parents compromise in our lifestyles and work ethics before our children then we communicate those ideas to them.
If we have been deceived or perhaps have just become negligent in any area pertaining to our work ethics, we could be guilty of hurting our children or our witness for the Lord.
Here is a checklist for employees to see if perhaps any "little foxes" have been spoiling our vines:
Examining what motivates us to work. Love of money, fear, duty and necessity are some of the world's reasons to work. Our reason should be one that is motivated by love for our Lord.
Taking short cuts that will lessen the finished product because of laziness or impatience. This wastes time because a job is done the quickest way and not the best way.
Hiding mistakes that are costly to others because of fear or pride.
Stealing from our employer which increases his operating costs, that in turn, causes company wages or bonuses to be less.
Working in a careful manner to avoid carelessness to prevent accidents. Safety rules need to be obeyed which help lower insurance costs.
Communicating properly when we have a problem with the boss, instead of gossiping about him to other employees?
Being responsible and disciplined, workers who are dependable and loyal.
Avoiding slothful habits, such as tardiness and absenteeism without a cause. (Pretending to be sick just because we do not want to go to work is outright deception).
Lying about our qualifications when applying for a job causing the employer to believe we can do more than we are actually trained or qualified to do. (This puts the employer at risk because of inferior work that will be produced.)
Walking out on a job without proper notification.
Here is a checklist for employers or manufacturers that is also in order:
Creating inferior products because of greed. (Things that wear out quickly so they must be replaced sooner so the manufacture will profit more.)