Book of Proverbs: 31 verses from 31 chapters in 31 days – Day 6: Go to the ant

Day 6: Go to the ant (6:6)

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”

Proverbs, as we see and will see more, is refreshingly, irreligiously, practical and totally down to earth. It begins with a warning against putting up security for a friend’s debt and getting out of the arrangement (6:1) and later the danger of looking to bad people, however attractive it seems (6:12-15), and seven short sharp sayings of things the Lord hates: “A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (6:17-18), ending with warnings of what happens to the thief and adulterer. But for today’s thought: we consider the ant.

Ants are great teachers (30:24-28). As a natural history buff, Solomon would have seen and derived many lessons for life. Ants are diligent, by working hard without coercion, and prudent by saving part of all production. This in contrast with a sluggard, a person who is slow, lazy, and does not like to work hard. He is a pain and risk to those that must rely on him (10:26). Diligent men, or those that work hard, will be successful (10:4; 12:24; 14:23; 22:29; 28:19), but lazy men, who avoid hard work, ultimately lose out (6:10-11; 12:24; 19:15; 20:4,13; 24:30-34). Sluggards are too arrogant to be taught (26:16). They stay in bed, for they love sleep (6:9-11; 20:13; 24:30-34). They have energy to turn back and forth in bed, but not to get food to their mouths (26:14-15). They want the good things of life like others, but they do not want to work for them (13:4). Ants have an excellent work ethic, unlike sluggards. They get up, get to work, and stay at work. They are always moving, quickly and energetically. They work efficiently, tirelessly and fast. They do not stand around, sit around, or drag through their work. They do not pace themselves to spread work out: they go right at a project and work hard until it is finished. They will not quit until the job is done. They do not need supervision (6:7), for they find something to do without direction. When times are good, they work hard to store up for bad times (6:8); they do not take it easy because there is the appearance of plenty. They store surplus rather than eat it all. They deny short-term pleasure for long-term prosperity. They help their colony succeed. They are unselfish. They do not choose the easiest way or get discouraged if the job is hard. When facing difficulties, they energetically try again until they are successful. They will go great distances from home in order to find their food. Let us be like the ant!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the example of the ant. May we follow this rather than that of the sluggard. There is so much that needs to be done here on planet earth and we need to be smart, diligent and hard workings. Help us to so do.

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