Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Hundreds of years before Aesop wrote his fables, wise old King Solomon began writing the proverbs that became what we today know as the book of Proverbs in the Bible. One of my favorites is found in today’s scripture – the proverb of the hard-working ants. Solomon advises lazy people to learn from the ant. (It’s OK if you’re not lazy – you can still learn from the ant.)
Solomon pointed out that ants work hard all summer to gather their food for the winter months, and he holds that out to us as the example to follow.
Many years later, Aesop told a similar tale and expanded on the idea. And many, many years later, Walt Disney turned it into a cartoon. Basically, Mr. Grasshopper thinks that life is a party. (In Solomon’s proverb, he’s the lazy guy, or the “sluggard.”) Mr. Grasshopper spends his time eating, drinking and playing his fiddle while singing, “The world owes me a livin’.”
Of course, we know how this turns out. Winter comes, the grasshopper starves, and the ants end up bailing him out, because they were wise and had enough food to feed themselves and the the poor fool. One point worth noting – instead of saying, “Awesome, bring me more grub,” the grasshopper is sorry for what he’s done. He earns his keep by entertaining the ants, and his new song is, “I owe the world a livin’.”
Solomon, Aesop and Walt Disney all make good points. Ants don’t work 365 days a year. But they do get their work done before they rest. Too many people don’t do things that way. They play before they work, and they end up with all sorts of problems. They can’t keep jobs, so they don’t have the money they need. Or they live in homes that are dirty or run-down. Or they’re always running behind on getting things done (like turning in assignments for work or school). You may think that too much work is a bad thing, but one thing is certain – nothing good ever comes from being lazy.
Today, learn a lesson from the ant and commit yourself to getting the important things done first. Pray that the Lord will help you stay with your big tasks and see them through to the finish line. And when you’re done, do something silly or fun (or silly and fun) to celebrate!
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.