Lessons from the Ant (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Proverbs 6:6-8, 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.
There are a number of important elements in these verses about the ant. Notice the wisdom in the ant’s preparation. The ant, without anyone telling him what to do, prepares for the future winters by gathering food in the summer. The ant's entire life, which can range for up to seven years, is spent working. They gather food, bring it back to the nest, and use it for day-to-day meals, as well as to store for the winter.
The ant is the most laborious and industrialized insect in existence. They work tirelessly until the work is done. They work together in astonishing systems of organization to the best of the whole community. They are ingenious carpenters, building their own system of homes and underground tunnels. They keep their homes clean. Each ant has a specific job to help meet the needs of the community. They are intelligent and wise (Proverbs 6:6). They carry out life's work without being forced to do so by a guide, overseer, or ruler (Proverbs 6:7).
The word sluggard has the thought of one who is ‘lazy,’ ‘unmotivated,’ and ‘un-disciplined’ in life. They lived in Solomon’s day and they are still around today. The ant is used as an illustration of looking ahead, being motivated, disciplined, and a self-starter. Ants routinely lay up food stores for winter. The illustration is of taking the long look.
The now generation has always been around. Those who live for today and ignore tomorrow often find themselves in a bind when tomorrow inevitably comes. The thought speaks of working today to save for tomorrow. Wise men live by the philosophy of being productive today to save for tomorrow. Foolish people blow their money today. Wise men invest for tomorrow.
Solomon said that the ant provides her meat in the summer. The word "provideth" means "to be fixed or stable, steadfast, to prepare, to be ready, to be settled." When you think about it, preparation requires all of these elements.
Being fixed on a goal, or purpose, helps us to be steadfast and not to quit in the preparation process. The importance of being ready, or prepared, is a motivation to finish our preparation. When we are prepared it gives us stability, or confidence, to do the task at hand. Preparation helps settle us emotionally.
The ant does not waste his opportunities. He gathers his food in the summer before the winter arrives. The truth we are stressing here is the importance of taking advantage of your opportunities if you want to achieve, or reach, your goals. Time changes the conditions and circumstances of your life. What may be possible today may not be possible tomorrow. Your health can change. Your finances can change in one day. What might be accomplished today may not be possible tomorrow. Don't waste your opportunities. Be like the ant and work on reaching your goals now while you can. God said this is a wise thing to do (I Corinthians 15:58). Serve God now while you can. Don't wait until you get older.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You, have given me a great example of achievement in Your Word by the life of the ant. Help me to become wise in considering her ways. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.