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Recalling the lesson of the ant


I worked at a college for over 25 years. Spring semester is different from fall semester. During spring semester freshmen that didn’t take their studies seriously enough have either left or are buckling down to rescue their GPA; sophomores are required to declare their major and have to carefully plan their classes for the rest of their college career; and seniors have to figure out what they are going to do after they graduate in five short months. As a result, students are a lot more studious in the spring.

We, as humans, have a terrible lazy streak. In Proverbs 6:6-8, King Solomon uses the example of ants. “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

There are three things Solomon points out in this proverb. One is that he notes the diligence of the ant storing resources for when times are lean. In our society, expressions such as Franklin’s “A penny saved is a penny earned” are no longer common. We are encouraged instead to buy now, pay later. Credit card debt continues to climb and students learn the hard way that student loans are not really “financial aid” but business transactions.

Another point is that the ant has no commander or overseer. Our parents may have advised us to “save for a rainy day” but it is up to us to do it ourselves. The words “discipline” and “disciple” are related. Our success in becoming who God calls us to be depends on self-discipline and self-control. It isn’t that we are saved by our works, but we won’t enjoy all the blessings that God has set before us if we don’t run the race with diligence.

Note that the lesson Solomon points out is found in the wisdom of an ant. The guidance of God is found all around us. God constantly whispers to us through His creation, His loving counsel. God loves us and wants us to live life abundantly so that we may experience the fullness of life and so that we wholly become the person God created us to be.

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