You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest! Proverbs 6:6-11
Last week we talked about how important it is to step up and be still. The Bible teaches in Psalm 46:10 that we should be still and know that He is God. It is very important to be still seek God, know God and exemplify God. But, this is not an excuse to be lazy. It is not an excuse to give up when things get tough. It is not an excuse at all, but a necessary step of living life to the full.
The Bible suggests that we consider the Ant. The ant teaches us to step it up. If you are like me, you have been fascinated by observing ants. Can you remember one standing still for more than a brief moment? No, they are constantly on the move. They teach us to step it up, to be mobile, to get going. Projects require us to get started. The puzzle never becomes a masterpiece if it stays in the box. Getting started is sometimes the most difficult part of getting something done. Many things get put off and when we finally get around to doing them we wish we would have started earlier. Dottie and I moved into our home many years ago. Since that time, I have wanted to have the staircase transformed from a dark stain to a clean looking white finish. A month ago a friend of mine completed that project for me and I love the new white look of our staircase. Thanks Mike! Why didn’t I move on this sooner? I procrastinated, that’s why, or maybe I was just lazy? Hey, Dottie, it’s finally done!
Another thing I noticed about an ant is that they never stop. Even when they are faced with obstacles bigger that they are they keep going. If there is a rock the ant will go over it. If there is a puddle, the ant will go around it. If there is a brick in the way, the ant will go around it. If we could only learn that from God’s tiny creatures.
We make all kinds of excuses for the tiniest of obstacles. If it is going to take longer, cost more, require more effort, we often quit. When someone or some thing opposes us, criticizes us, complains or won’t help us, we often quit. Ants do not quit. They go and succeed or die trying. If the ant didn’t go at all, they would die for sure. If we decide not to go, we automatically fail to accomplish much at all. The Ant teaches us to step it up.
One more thing the ant teaches us is that we do not have to have all the directions or all the answers to get going. Sometimes we just have to figure it out as we go. We are to do a lot of things as we are going. Jesus taught us how. He made Disciples as He was going. He demonstrated faith, hope, love, peace and power as He was going. He instructed us to go and make disciples. We are to do as He commanded. We need to labor as Jesus labored, with urgency.
Ants work in the summer so they can survive in the winter. We need to work while we can because there are pandemics, and sickness, and age that can potentially stop us or slow us down. The night is coming for all of us. We must not be like the worker who received one talent and buried it. Remember what his master said to him?
26 “His master replied, ‘You evil, lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I have not planted? You knew that I gather crops where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money in the bank. When I returned, I would have received it back with interest.’ 28 “Then his master commanded the other slaves, ‘Take the bag of gold from him. Give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 Everyone who has will be given more. They will have more than enough. And what about anyone who doesn’t have? Even what they have will be taken away from them. 30 Throw that worthless slave outside. There in the darkness, people will weep and grind their teeth.’ Matthew 25:26-30
There is much we can learn from the ant, but let’s sum it up by saying step it up, and keep going. If you do, you will have a better life.