“…You slacker! Observe its (the ant) ways and become wise.” (Proverbs 6:6)
Periodically throughout Holy Scripture, God confronts our sin and calls us out by hurling an insult. In today’s society, that is seen as being unloving and petty. We are told our actions don’t define us, but we define ourselves. Yet is God wrong? Is He being unloving and petty when He calls us “slacker”, “sluggard”, and “sloth”? Absolutely not! If it applies to us, we do well to heed the Master’s stern rebuke, and we get offended and ignore it to our own peril. God, in His infinite wisdom uses both the carrot and the stick to motivate us to action, and He knows when to use each. Grace is applied when the Law weighs heavy upon us. Rules of conduct and the consequences for breaking them apply when grace is presumed.
The author here is inviting us to take a look at the measly ant to learn a valuable life lesson, and it is a very practical one. His stern rebuke is for our benefit, to wake us up to action! He is trying to prevent the immense suffering that awaits the sluggard by not heeding his instruction.
With that in mind, here they are—life lessons from the tiny ant.
Watch and learn…
- Plan ahead (6:8)
- Don’t wait to be told what to do, take the initiative (6:7)
- Build for the future (practice delayed gratification) (6:8)
- Save when you have much so that you have money to spend when times are lean (v. 8)
- Work hard, be productive (6:8)
- Use rest as a break from work, not the other way around (remember the Sabbath is one day of rest per 6 days of work) (6:9)
- Build for the future now, because if you don’t one day your future will suddenly be here and you will have nothing to show for it (6:10-11)
As a footnote, I would add to that…
Planning ahead is NOT a lack of faith, it is an act of wisdom.
Work is a gift from God (Gen. 2:15), not something to be avoided.
God is always thinking communally. The ant works not merely for himself but for the colony, so that the entire group can benefit from his work (Eph. 4:28).