When I was a boy, I loved to visit my grandparents on their farm in the summer. They lived almost three hundred miles from us, so we only got to see Granny and Granddad once a year. Granddad still plowed with a horse. They still had a cistern for water, too. They had no plumbing in the old house.
One of my favorite things about the farm was fishing in the pond. My big brother, Dean and I would walk barefoot down through the pasture with our cane poles over our shoulders and a vegetable can full of worms for a time of fun catching catfish out of the muddy pond water.
One afternoon we came back to the house with a few catfish. We thought about cleaning them and getting them ready to cook right away. Granny would roll them in corn meal and fry them for us to eat. But we thought it would be all right to leave them until morning. We just didn’t feel like going to the trouble to clean them at the moment. Maybe there was something more fun that we wanted to do just then. So we put the fish in a big dishpan full of water from the cistern and left it out in the yard. We’d get back to the job in the morning.
But when morning came our fish were gone! I asked my Dad what had happened to them. He said, “I expect the barn cats got them.” I asked him how they could have gotten our fish out of a pan of water. Cats don’t like water.
Sad said, “They just reach down in there with that big paw and hook ‘em with their claws. Out they come.”
Dean and I lost our fish because we weren’t diligent enough to clean them as soon as we got back to the house.
It reminds me now of Proverbs 12:27—“The lazy don’t roast their prey, but hard workers receive precious riches.”
No, we hadn’t roasted our prey. And we hadn’t received any precious riches. We had been lazy, and only the barn cats were happy about it.