I love reading through book of Proverbs! Every time I read through it, I am reminded of the simplest, yet most foundational truths that act as guardrails on the path of wisdom. The book of Proverbs is filled with pithy and applicable nuggets of truth that often use images from the real world to teach us a lesson. God uses the insignificant and often overlooked things in our everyday life to teach us the most profound and eternal truths. In the book of Proverbs, God’s purpose is for the reader “to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding” (Proverbs 1:2). It is a book of practical, yet life-altering wisdom from our Heavenly Father.
In Proverbs 6, God takes us to the classroom of nature to teach us a very important truth. As we enter the classroom, we have to look very closely and concentrate because it would be easy to overlook the teacher. The teacher in this classroom of God’s creation is the minuscule, insignificant, and often bothersome creature known as the ant! Some may wonder how this pesky creature can teach us refined and cultured humans a lesson on anything, but that is exactly what we see here in Proverbs 6. Verses 6-8 say “Go to the ant thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Although ants can be a nuisance, God is praising them for their diligent work ethic. God says that their ways are wise. The student that needs to attend this class is the sluggard (i.e., the lazy). However, this is really a classroom for all of us as we all have a tendency to veer towards laziness in our business, our family duties, our spiritual life, or our responsibilities to the local church. God calls our attention to the ant and reminds us that the ant doesn’t have a “guide, overseer, or ruler” barking orders at it, yet it still is very productive. The ant works hard in the summer and in the harvest so it has food in the winter.
The Christian is called to emulate the diligent work ethic of the ant. When we pattern our lives on a biblical work ethic, we will get things done for God. The lazy Christian will never rise above his sin and accomplish anything for God. This applies to every area of life. A lazy parent should not be surprised when their teenager neglects their school work and wants to play video games all day. A lazy spouse should not be surprised when a marriage begins to fall apart due to neglect. A lazy Christian should not be surprised when they feel disconnected from God and the church family. Laziness is something we all must battle with constantly. Anything that is going to succeed in the life of the Christian is going to take hard work.