The Expository Files


Learning from the Ants

Proverbs 6:6

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise” (Prov 6:6)

To teach us the danger of laziness in our lives, God points us to an unlikely teaching source. “Go to the ant”, He tells us, to learn valuable lessons. What can we learn from the ants?

Ants teach us how to be self-motivated. “Which, having no captain, overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest” (Prov 6:7-8). No one carries a whip behind the ant to ensure the work gets done. There are no time cards in the anthill. No ant mothers nag their babies to get out of bed. These creatures are self-motivated, and need no captain to ensure they get their work done. Why? Their work is for their own good! As Christians, maturity means we no longer need someone standing behind us, Bible in hand, to ensure our work gets done, our moral purity is not compromised, or that we continue to assemble with the saints.

Ants teach us to look ahead. “Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest” (Prov 6:8). In the summer and in the harvest, food is plentiful. Yet the ant refuses to take her ease—instead working harder, storing up against the coming time of scarcity. “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer” (Prov 30:25). One of our great failings is only looking at the few feet in front of our nose—not preparing for the future or considering the consequences of our action—and inaction.

Ants teach us the value of hard work. As they provide and gather, Solomon looks at another man: “How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?” (Prov 6:9). He shows us the end of this man: “So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Prov 6:11). Laziness will lead to poverty, with precious few exceptions. But there are no poor ants! Their hard work sustains them! Christians need a willingness to work hard to earn their wages, and to work even harder to please their Lord. There is tremendous value in this! Many of us might prefer to just stay in bed, but working hard anyway will bless our lives physically and spiritually!

We must beware the propensity we have to be lazy—both physically and spiritually. Go to the ant! “Consider her ways and be wise”! Think on these things!

By Jacob Hudgins
From Expository Files 17.3; March 2010