Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6: 6-11)
Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands,yet it is in kings’ palaces. (Proverbs 30: 24-28)
A sluggard is basically an habitually lazy person. You’d see such a type of man, woman or child just lazing around most of the while. They practically do nothing at all. All they want is to sleep as if nothing else is there for them. In contrast have a look at the ant. One hardly sees a lazy ant. These tiny creatures are at times a nuisance to food stored at home. But credit can be given to ants as they keep the forests cleaner by collecting dead leaves and twigs and fruits dropped by the trees, and then consuming or using them. They store food for the future especially for the times there will be none or little available to forage. This helps them survive droughts and even tough winters.
When will you arise from your sleep?
There are people who might seem active on the physical front. These often are seen busy at work and home. However, they are not fully active. So what’s the area they are not keeping active? It’s basically the region of spiritual growth where they are to gain wisdom by listening to sermons at church, reading the Bible prayerfully and helping the poor and needy. There are a lot of people who excel at work, they never bunk their work day etc but if you ask them how many times have they read the full book of Psalms in the Bible, they’ll be clueless. If you ask them who is Joel in the Bible, they would not be able to say that he’s one of the prophets of God. These even miss on group prayers with other Christians in their local community.
Some people are asleep to the will of God. They have not a hint of what God expects of them. How does this happen? It’s basically the cares and worries of the world hold their attention. Others are instead overwhelmed by the fleeting pleasures of life and the methods to keep gathering wealth for future enjoyment. I’m not talking about normal joys of life or meeting the basic needs of healthy living. These people live and work only for spending it later in unnecessary thrills. Ask them to donate to the poor, at any place of their choice and they’ll give you a strange look. But tell them to go and visit a certain fancy restaurant and they won’t hesitate at all to part ways with huge sums of money. So bad is their condition of spiritual sleep that unless the storms of life confront them, they won’t be every pray to God. Never be stuck in such a sleep that you are not walking in the will of God.
If you see ants, you’d notice they are not sleeping most of the time. They are very much active and work for each ant in the ant colony. They don’t need to be reminded to work, they automatically do what is necessary to gather food. Shouldn’t we as Christians, start reading the Bible to know God’s will for us instead of waiting for someone to remind us for the Nth time?
A little sleep, a little slumber…
There are those who love to be lazy everyday and every moment. For them complacency and peace mean the same thing. Anything that requires a serious effort to do good in life, is incorrectly perceived as trouble. So they go on living a life of ignorance, not gaining knowledge and some don’t even bother to save enough for the future. Then comes a challenge in life, maybe one has to escape one’s city due to an imminent volcano eruption and the lazy person is wondering if he’s to work hard and escape the city. He then realizes that he didn’t bother to fill up his car tank all the way up, for the long rush out of the city. So decides to go out to the neighbours who by then have already been diligent enough to have a fully ready car and have already left the place. Usually the lazy man will feel remorse at this point but that won’t really help him escape, unless there’s someone out there in the neighbourhood or on the highway who takes him in their vehicle. This way he can still get away safely. Perhaps that would later change his attitude towards his sleep loving nature but God knows the human heart best.
Again, being spiritually asleep can be dangerous. One must never be in love with the world but rather with the Lord Jesus Christ. People who choose the darkness (and I mean choose deliberately to avoid the light of world Jesus our Lord), are not going to a happy place once their time is done on earth. Hell awaits those who let go of the Gospel. People at church must be very careful to never play into the plans of the Devil and end up not in heaven. The best and the only way you don’t fall into the Devil’s plans is that you make a choice to do it as per God’s plan, which is to carry your cross. This is not about earning your salvation, this is about living it! And living your salvation means that you act with wisdom and dignity as a true child of God.
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:10-13)
If you notice the ants doing their usual stuff you’ll notice they know their objectives which are to find out food and pick it up and gather it into their place of storing together. These don’t have that many brain cells. Even ten thousand ants all put together do not have enough complexity to match that of a human brain. Yet, these are sincere, which is even with that little logic they are born with, these actually stick to the overall plan.
Somehow when it comes to people, not everyone chooses to use their minds. Especially when it comes to doing the will of God. Let me make it real to you. Some folks need to be reminded every few days, to love the Lord God even though they are clearly aware that Christ died and rose from the dead for lost sinners. We are not at this point to engage in a blame game with such people but rather guide them to the Lord with boldness, courage and respect.
and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30)
Knowing how diligent the Lord God’s creature the ant is, we must try to even be more better than it. We can if we wish, we can choose to not be too sleepy but be active at the right times. This way we can benefit physically, financially and most importantly physically. Christ has given us all great potential, he’s invested in life into us. Make good use of his life in you!
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)