Suggested Reading: Proverbs 6:6-11
Laziness is the second folly Solomon addresses in this portion of Scripture. The first one he discussed is the folly of guaranteeing the debt of another person. Solomon often saw more wisdom in action among the creatures in nature than there is among some human beings. In the beginning of the book, he says that people greedy for money are less intelligent than birds as birds can see a trap when it is being set and has the “wisdom” to flee away, but a person greedy for money is blind to the traps set for him and walks right into them. He doesn’t see the “catch” in an offer made to him. His greed blinds him to the obvious.
Here Solomon addresses laziness and tells the sluggard to take the time to study some ants. “Consider” has connotations of thoughtful study. “Consider its ways and be wise!” There is much wisdom to be learnt from nature as it displays the magnificent wisdom of God. God has made His invisible qualities visible through what He has created. (Romans 1:20).
Here are some life lessons we can learn by studying ants:
- An ant has no boss. It doesn’t have an alarm clock going off in the morning telling it that it is time to go to work. It doesn’t have a boss checking up on it to see if the work is being done. They are disciplined workers.
- Ants work hard at gathering in the time of plenty and storing up for the time of lack. Most people spend wildly in the time of plenty with no regard for the time of lack. Ants make provision for the future
- They are very organized. Ants live in colonies and life in a colony is very organized
- They feed and protect each other
- They depend on each other without any damage to their egos
- Each ant brings its part. There are no lazy ants bathing in the sun while the rest have to do all the work. The ant colony is marked by an unselfish unity. No work is left undone
- Ants share everything they get. They never eat anything alone. You won’t find an ant secretly stashing away what he found so that he can enjoy it alone
- They are disciplined and committed to their task
- Ants are persistent and when an obstacle is placed in the pathway of an ant, it finds a way around it. Napoleon said, “Victory belongs to the persistent.” Ants don’t refrain from hard work and not even their small size can discourage them. Some species are able to carry about 25 times the weight of their own body size.
- They are committed to team work.
The sluggard would find the life of an ant too much to bear. He loves to sleep, but Solomon says that too much sleep makes a man poor. As a door turns on its hinges so a sluggard turns on his bed, lying a little on this side and then on that side while the daylight hours are ticking by. Poverty will come on him suddenly. Suddenly he will find himself lacking when others who have been storing up in the time of plenty, will find their needs are supplied.
It’s is good to call on God in our time of need, but God also wants us to employ wisdom in our daily lives. God rewards the work of our hands, not the fantasies in our heads. If we have been working hard and our consciences are clear, we can certainly count on God to come through for us in our time of need. But if we act like fools and waste away our days doing nothing and then the time arrive when we have a need, we may find it difficult to pray with a clear conscience. Jesus said we should work while there is light. In other words, don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today. We may not have the strength or the time tomorrow. Things happen and before we know it, tomorrow also passed by with nothing being accomplished. Apart from that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, so let us do today what we can and may we work with all our heart as if we are working for the Lord and not for men.
Proverbs 6:6-11 (NIV)
6. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
7. It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
8. Yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers food at harvest.
9. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
10. A little sleep, a little slumber, and little folding of the hands to rest –
11. And poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.