Finding the ants
Those ants! When we played in the woods, we’d turn over a rock to move it to a location we were “building.” Invariably, we discovered ants scrambling to move their “nest” to another location. Carrying loads two or three times their size, they scurried and hurried, accomplishing a tremendous feat as they worked together.
Before long, the area was void of the ants and any evidence that they ever lived there. How fascinating it was to consider what took place in a few moments’ time!
Learning from the Ant
There’s so much we can learn from the ants, especially considering that Solomon mentions them in Proverbs.
“There are four things,” he says, “that are little upon the earth, but are exceeding wise.” The first one he lists is the ant.
Also in Proverbs, Solomon instructs the sluggard person to consider the ways of the ant, and be wise. Here are his words (ESV):
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
The ant is a willing, capable worker. He is not sluggish or lazy. The ant works willingly with others, bearing his share (or more) of the load.
A single ant can carry over 50 times his body weight. Sometimes ants work together to move a larger item. Ants do not have ears. Some ants cannot see. They “hear” by feeling vibrations with their feet.
Ants send out chemical signals to alert others to danger, to point the way to food, and to attract a mate. Ants follow a set daily schedule for feeding, sleeping, and working. Scientists have identified them as the smartest of all insects.
Finding the Lessons
So, why does Solomon tell the sluggard (and all of us) to think about the ant? What are we to consider about her ways, and will that make us wise?
#1. An ant is not a sluggard. That’s the first lesson. Ants work throughout their day. A busy, working person makes a difference and his work keeps him from becoming a gossip or tale-bearer.
#2. Ants do not have a leader or a boss, yet they work together without friction and without one of them slacking. They are made to work, and that’s what they do. We do well to consider this truth – for a person who is idle is not a happy person, nor does an idle person contribute peace. An idle person becomes a pawn for the devil, a tool in the hand of sloth and a producer of discord. [Busyness is not a guarantee that one is not idle; just being busy does not guarantee a health of soul and spirit.]
#3. An ant takes care of today’s responsibilities. Her household is not void of care. We all have things we like to do, but our responsibilities must come first.
#4. An ant not only takes care of today, she plans for tomorrow, and makes proper preparation. Harvest preparation gets ready for the long haul – winter. This is what an ant does and it involves not only physical preparation, but emotional and spiritual as well. Taking care of oneself is more than taking care of today. It is making preparation for future living.
Solomon is telling us to avoid acting or living like a sluggard; rather, learn lessons from the ant. Follow the ant, and you will find purpose and fulfillment in your day.
Photo credits: pixabay.com