Key Passage: Proverbs 6:6-11
Key Text: Proverbs 6:6 – “Go to the ant, you sluggard….”
As a child I was extremely fascinated with the zoo. I somehow felt drawn to the many inhabitants and wondering what manner of creatures they were. Over the years, I have grown to love nature and God’s creation in a very special way, and my knowledge of the animal kingdom has been greatly enriched by National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, BBC Wildlife on One etc and most importantly the Bible. God’s word has a lot to say about animals and creatures and what we humans can glean from them. Have you ever tried searching for what God’s word has to say about the world of animals and little creatures and us?
Today. Let’s start by examining one of God’s littlest creatures. The ant. Yes, the little almost inconsequential ant. They are everywhere, yet we hardly notice them, except when the crawl over your lumps of sugar, pick up crumbs of bread around the kitchen or as some of us know very well from experience, when you mistakenly step into a line of soldier ants. If you’ve had this experience you know you would never ignore the ant ever again. I have learnt so much from the ant and God has used the ant to say many things to me.
Proverbs 6:6-11 reviews the ant and as it were God sends us to observe the ant and learn some valuable lessons:
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.”
Lesson 1 – Ants have no captain, overseer and ruler – yet they march in line, they act with precision and are quite orderly. Just watch the ant dismantle a dead cockroach and you will observe an incredible clinical precision and orderliness as they go about doing their business. Have you ever wondered why they march in an invincible line? It appears as if the ant has an innate ability to be orderly and disciplined. Self-discipline is the beginning of self-leadership and self-leadership is the foundation of all true leadership. If you can’t discipline yourself and order your life, you cannot lead anything. Great people and great nations are orderly, disciplined and precise.
Lesson 2 – Ants provides her supplies in summer – Planning and saving – Ants are planners. Ants are savers. They recognise that seasons come and go and if they do not plan they would fail. So ants plan ahead and work for the future. They store away reserves for the seasons of leanness and drought. They don’t eat everything; they save for the rainy day. How many people just live for today and forget about tomorrow? Then they are surprised that tomorrow soon comes and they have nothing stored up. We must develop a culture of saving. Hard as this may be the bible says it is wise to save. Are you a spender or a saver?
Lesson 3 – And Gathers her food in the harvest – Ants are strategic. They take advantage of every opportunity and maximise the seasons. Strategic thinking comes out of deep analysis of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Once you have a truthful SWOT analysis, you can develop strategic plans that maximally employ your strengths, compensate for your weaknesses, takes advantage of opportunities that present and lastly, plan a line of defence against threats to your survival. Ants have mastered this strategic mind set and there is no surprise why they seem to always be there. If you want to test this, just drop a lump of sugar anywhere in your house and within hours the ants will find it and start to carry it off piece by piece into their store-house. They don’t stay there and gorge on the sugar. They carry it off to the colony and store it up for the days when there are no lumps of sugar hanging around. Are you strategic? Have you done your personal SWOT analysis?
Can you take one more?
Lesson 4 – Ants are hard workers, they are not lazy. This seems to be the unique strength of ants. They are simply hard working. As little as they are, they are never afraid to take on huge projects and work till they have accomplished it. They are diligent. They are persistent. They are consistent and they are industrious. They work hard. Hard work pays. No real success can come without some hard work. Actually I like the idea of strategic hard work. Not just dissipation of energy, but application of energy for the right purposes. Successful people have a healthy work ethic. They labour for their successes. Recently as I read the book of Genesis again, I saw clearly that God created man to work the earth for Him. God works and so must His people. Work is worship! The more hardworking you are the more you glorify God and maximise what He has given you. God does not like lazy people and He really can’t stand indolence. Jesus was a hard working man. Just think about His daily ministry schedule and the amount of miles he had to cover by foot through the rugged Israeli terrain. So what’s your work ethic like?
Let’s learn from one of God’s littlest creatures. Suddenly the ANT does not seen so inconsequential again.
Let’s Pray: Father, thank you for creating the ant and using this little creature of your to teach us some deep life lessons. May we find the grace and strength to learn from the ant, so we are successful in all that you have planned for us. We ask this in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.