Oh to be Ant-like
Prov. 6:6 Go to the ant, you lazybones;
consider its ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief
or officer or ruler,
8 it prepares its food in summer,
and gathers its sustenance in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O lazybones?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want, like an armed warrior.
The ant is so tiny, and yet it will achieve things far beyond it’s own strength. We are to consider the work of the ant and learn what it means to work in God’s kingdom.
The ant has an incredible harvest, one that is the result of the ant’s labors. Just imagine the little ant that sneaks into the kitchen and walks off with the crumb of food. We don’t stop the ant because we are fascinated that such a little creature could carry something so large. In awe and wonder we simply let the ant go about its work, and its harvest is completed — needs met.
In contrast is the lazy individual who spends far too much time in bed. Sleeping, resting, not working — and poverty will be the result. Just as daily food is necessary for life, so are we to labor in proportion to our strength. The call is to be ant-like.
The tiny ant is able to accomplish much because the ant stays on mission. Working hard and harvesting more than appears to be possible, the ant makes progress by sticking at it day after day after day.
Working hard has gone out of fashion in some circles. I’ve heard owners of construction companies say that it’s hard to find good laborers these days. That, without our immigrant populations, we would have no construction industry because, for the majority population, doing that kind of manual labor seems to have no appeal. At the same time, there is a desire to have everything that the world has to offer. How will this be accomplished if we are unwilling to put in the hard work of the ant?
Our spiritual lives also require ant-like effort. We cannot lie around and imagine that God will supply every need if we are unwilling to become active participants in the work. We are asked to partner together with God in God’s mission. By doing this God empowers us with ant-like strength to work and to do more than we could ever even imagine. Just as the ant carries off more than its weight in food, so we are able to carry off more kingdom work than it would appear we are able to complete.
We are to labor at getting to know God through spiritual discipline. This includes making time for the Lord, spending time in prayer and the word, and then participating in kingdom work. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, and when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit we may be able to accomplish far more than we could ever ask or imagine! Sounds biblical, doesn’t it?
The ant doesn’t worry, but simply lives into what it means to be an ant. We are not to worry, but we are simply to live into what it means to be a child of God. Every day we are to be nourished by God’s holy presence and then work hard in this world, participating in God’s kingdom business. This is what it means to be ant-like.
Lord, please help me live and work together with you, just as the ant. Amen.