Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! -Proverbs 6:6
I hate ants! At least I did when I was a kid. Growing up in Georgia they’d come up from the red clay in full force to devour your lunch, protect their hill, or take you out at the ankles. As a young boy, after stepping in a few anthills and feeling the effects from my poor judgment, I would retaliate in force. I would destroy their little home with sticks and rocks and finally by drowning the little community with a water hose. “‘That’ll show ‘em!” I would think. Then a week or so later I discovered the same community moved its headquarters to the backside of the pine tree. If left alone, the next hill would be bigger than first. It seemed like a losing battle for a young boy on a mission never to be bitten again.
Consider the ant!
When I let my boyhood battle cry subside, and I disregard the memories of watermelon being hauled off by the slice, then I’ll consider the ant! I will learn from my enemy! Here are my observations from the ways of a ant.
● No Commander - Leadership by Mission. They develop the colony, build the infrastructure, and prepare for food and shelter in season, always marching a single line. They overcome and rebuild when disaster strikes. They are clear and committed.
● No Ruler - Diligent Workers. They work like slaves, but they have no masters. They have a job, and they get it done. They work together and rarely alone.
● No Overseer - Self and Team Management. They work together for a common goal, share the load when it gets too heavy, and care for the injured, They have an internal drive to complete what they start. They are organized and efficient.
Solomon compares the nobility of the ant to the sluggard. For the lazy man (or sluggard) will reap what he sows in the forms of ‘poverty’ and ‘scarcity.’ Being from the south, while knocking over anthills, I also saw the slow slimy trails of a snail on a sidewalk. What a pitiful creature. It’s lazy, slow, and whenever anything happens crawls into its shell for protection. It is the epitome of a sluggard! It’s immobilized by fear and self-protection. The snail rarely travels in community. Its slime and odor repels anyone. No one wants to be sluggard.
Then there is the other extreme—the work-alcoholics whose vices run deeper than just good work ethics. They are running, driven by another master. Let me encourage you. There is freedom from that fear of failure. Your sense of worth and identity come from who are as a child of God. What you do for work is an expression of who you are, but it is NOT your identity. You are worth more than your work! Your value comes from more than what you can produce.
Now, consider the ant!
Consider the balance of the ant who works in season preparing in a time of harvest and winter rest.
Consider the ways of the ant. Learn from their consistency of work, commitment to mission, and community to strengthen.
Confess your laziness or procrastination. Get organized and get moving! Despite my troubled boyhood; my enemy has become my teacher.
Consider the ways of the ant and be wise!