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. (Proverbs 6:6-11)
Learning From A Formicidae
God created the animals as a body of perfection to show His infinite wisdom and design. The ant (scientific name: Formicidae) was created on the sixth day and before the forming of man. It seems the Lord wants to remind man of his place in the world that the ant was created before man. The ant serves a wonderful purpose in the world of nature existing on every continent save Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland and the islands of Polynesia and Hawaii (lacking native ants). They are incredible workers that lift many times their own body weight and in some countries build giant mounds. Nature is given to man to show him the moral lessons of the Creator. Wisdom comes from spending time in the natural world to see how God formed, established and ordained the lives of the animals for His glory. The ant is no exception. Everyone has had dealings with ants and either feared them for their tenacious bites or admired them for their unending energy to work at incredible levels of skill and persistence. Millions of dollars are spent every year to eradicate the mounds of dirt thrown up by thousands of ant only to find in a short time more places ants build their nest. There are millions of these insects spread all over the world and if man will take time to notice the character of the ant will learn valuable lessons from the Lord.
The lazy man is the subject of the proverb. A sluggard is a person who is slothful, lazy and refusing to work. Taken from the idea of the slug which is a shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusk, the wisdom of the proverb suggests a man who refuses to work should examine the life of an ant to see what God demands of him. The work of the ant is an incredible thing to behold. They are so very tiny and yet they can accomplish so much. The lazy man should take time to see how the ant builds her nest, provides her food year round and does all of this without someone telling them what and how to do it. Ants have no captains, overseers or rulers to tell them what must be done because they know what must be done. They do not stand around waiting for someone to tell them what needs to be done – they do it themselves. The action of the ants is constant. If you have ever tried to stop or slow down their progress, they will find a way to go under, around or over the obstacle and keep working. All of this activity is directed to providing for the health of the nest and survival of the colony. Everyone is important. All the workers are needed. The life of the ants is dependent upon what every ant provides.
Unlike the ant, man tends to be lazy. As the highest of creation, man does not always exhibit the greatest wisdom. The Lord wants the creation formed in His image to stop and consider the insect that is not created in the image of God so that man can learn what is expected of man from creation. God did not create man to sit around all day watching the world go by in a stupor of ignorant slumber. Sleep is a good thing but to spend one’s life sleeping all day when there is much to be done is not the will of God. One of the first things given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was the responsibility of work. Tending the garden was not a toilsome task as sin would later bring upon man but Adam and Eve were given responsibilities to tend the garden. Man was created to be an active creature. Before the days of high tech grocery stores food came from the ground by the hand of the family that needed the crops to sustain them. If you did not plant a crop and provide provisions during the summer the family would starve in the lean months of winter. Survival came from hard work. The conveniences of huge stores stocked high with food have driven more and more to be lazy and unproductive. Children of God should never be slothful or lazy people because the Lord forbids it.
Many people do not have their needs met because they are too lazy to make provisions for themselves. The Christian is to be the model of industry and work. If a man or woman works at a job they should consider the ant and his endurance to be diligent in putting forth the maximum effort. God’s people should never be accused of sleeping around in a pattern of laziness and slothful activity. Letting the light of God shine in our lives is letting others see our industry. Provisions for the family are made by the industry of hard work. If a man does not provide for his family he is worse than an infidel according to the Lord. The ant is a constant reminder of God’s will for man: work. Let no grass grow under the feet of the saints of God. Thank the Lord each day for the opportunity to labor with the hands to provide for self, family and others. Go to the ant and learn some lessons. We can learn a lot from a formicidae.