Get Your Fields in Order, Then Build Your House

We have the verse of the week for you today that we think relates to fatherhood, and that is in Proverbs 24:27. It says, “Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready, and then after that, build your house.” Jeremy, I heard you talk about this verse before, and I love what you have to say about it. But yeah, how would you expand on that verse and what it’s kind of trying to say?

Yeah, guys. I love this kind of ancient wisdom. It is so rich. It’s really saying something that is very different than what we do in our culture. In our culture, we oftentimes think about… A lot of you guys are young families that are starting out, and you go out and you think about your kind of dream house or your starter house, or you go out and get that mortgage. And a piece of ancient wisdom that Solomon is saying here, I think may challenge the order in which we think about building our house. And when you think about building your house, I think about establishing kind of your multi-generational hub. And that’s really easy to get excited about; and because of loans, we can go after that pretty early. But what I feel like Solomon is saying here is that it’s important to think about your work and the income streams that are coming into your house, first.

And you can imagine… Really, the picture he’s painting here is, in an agrarian world, you could go in and just put all your attention into building this epic house for you and your family and your wife. And he’s like, “No, no, no, no. Don’t do that. Go out to the field, work the field. Get those income streams going. Make sure you’re thinking about what is actually going to sustain your house long-term. Think about your work first, and then after that, build your house.”

So, I know that this can be difficult to quickly and easily cross-apply to life in our economy and the way we do work today. But I constantly think about this when I hear about, just, guys not going quickly and with enough intentionality in really establishing “What is your field? Where are you getting your income as a family? How are you expanding that?”

And I’ve seen some people… this verse and this principle, be the difference between some people renting in the first five years of their marriage and maybe their first couple of young kids; and even though they could afford, technically, to get a loan and get a house and put a lot of their attention into their house, they decided to put a lot of their attention into their work, into their income streams. Not because they are idolizing work, not because they’re making an identity out of work, but because they’re trying to establish a firmer foundation for the income of their family so that when they begin to build their house, it’s on a much stronger footing. That’s a different reason for really considering the ancient wisdom Solomon’s giving his son about the order in which to think about how you establish a house. 

We all want that end result. But in our culture… We’re kind of an instant gratification culture, because this would be really hard for some people. So I don’t know how that applies to you guys. I’m not saying that “Here’s the obvious order for everyone.” I’m just saying, “I think this is really powerful ancient wisdom from a father to his son, that I ponder a lot and have thought about how to apply to my own life.” And there have been many times where our family has said, “Hey, we’re going to turn everything into income streams.” We’ve done some kind of crazy things in order to really put that first, put building and establishing our field first. And this really has, I think, blessed and helped our family a lot in the future. And I know, Jeff, you guys have done similar things. How would you respond to that?

I want to ask you a follow-up question, and then we can end with that. How do you… because I think here’s the… The two poles on this, I would say, is this one, but then also, I think, then not fearing, or sometimes the struggle or the temptation of guys thinking, “Oh, I have to have all my ducks in a row before I can get married and have kids.” And I think that’s the other side of the spectrum, which I think is just as wrong, of… that “It has to be perfect, and I have to make $100,000 a year before I can get married.” Or “I have to be able to do this.” There’s also a level of true that’s… people getting married with $5 in the bank account, and that growth of kind of getting married together and growing together is actually really powerful.

But I think both of those answer. It depends on what stage you’re in, because I think there’s an answer to both of those, depending on which one you fall in. So, which would you say this one particularly… I don’t think this one’s applicable to the people that are tempted to get all their ducks in a row before they even start having a kid, because they won’t have kids till they’re 50. That’s kind of like chasing the dog’s tail a little bit, you know?

That’s right.

But what would you say this verse… Who does this verse apply to? What’s the kind of guy in mind that actually needs this verse? What are they doing? Are they not… just being… Are you saying a little bit more tempted towards laziness, a little bit more tempted towards just not having that belief of, “I got to work hard now so that I can bless my family when I’m 50”? Or what do you think this one’s really speaking to [crosstalk 00:04:51]?

Yeah. I think this is really talking literally about fields and literally about houses. I mean, this was happening in Israel, where they literally had fields, and then they’d have a house often in a village or in a walled village. And so you had to decide which one of those to put your energy towards first. I do not think this applies at all to getting married and having kids, or having all your ducks in a row, or all your income streams, or your house. I think a lot of that’s supposed to be done as a team. So it’s great, man. As soon as God reveals to you who that person is or you’ve made that decision, “I want to make a covenant with this woman,” man, I tell people… obviously in wisdom and in community and all of that… That’s kind of a bigger topic… But you don’t have to have ducks in a row, in my opinion, at all, because that’s a project you’re supposed to do together and with your children. 

And I think that dealing with all the stress and complexity of dealing with fields and houses while you’re having kids and while you have a wife, is actually really healthy. This is where Solomon also says, “It’s good for men to bear the yoke while they are young.” And that’s the yoke, man, when you have all that stuff going on at once. But I think this is specifically talking about somebody… and I think this is a big temptation in our culture… who really tries to max out what they can actually take out as a mortgage on a house as an early start to their life.

Yeah. That’s good. I love that.

That’s what I think is a little bit maybe backwards, and you need to question that. And a lot of people do that. They go out and they get their first well-paying job or decent paying job. They go to a bank, find out how much they can actually take out, and they go maximum into debt to get the best house they can possibly buy, and their income streams are really paycheck to paycheck. And I’m just like, “Ooh, you could slow that process down and build a better income stability situation for your family.” That’s kind of what I’ve taken away from this ancient wisdom.

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