Go to the Ant
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
1. Go to the ant… go = to go, walk, come—Come take a walk over to the ant and observe…
a. We are told to go to the ant to LEARN something from her.
b. The ant is our teacher in this Proverb.
2. This is kind of humbling isn’t it!
a. God tells us to get down on our knees in the dirt and watch ants. They could teach us a lesson!
b. It’s kind of humbling to think that we could learn a lesson from ants… but God says so!
3. Sluggard: lazy; slothful person…
a. The lesson of the ant is especially designed to teach lazy people.
b. In ancient times, a diligent, hard working person would probably be out in the field, plowing or planting. He wouldn’t even notice any ants walking about… he’s too busy working!
c. BUT, the lazy person is not likely to be out plowing in the field. He is more likely to be taking a little siesta, lying under a big shade tree…
d. The man lying down, lounging in the grass, is the one who is likely to see ants walking about…
e. Could it be that God designed the ant with its qualities just TO BE a teaching tool for the lazy person as he lounges around?
4. The sluggard is told to consider her ways…
a. Consider: to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider—take a good look at the ant… inspect her ways… observe… see how they behave.
b. There is something instructive about the ways of an ant that God wants us to recognize… especially the sluggard.
c. Evidently Solomon had observed the ants and learned some valuable lessons himself! (I Kings 4:32-34)
d. Sometime when you’re on vacation this summer—or on the camping trip, take a few minutes to observe a group of ants… and you’ll see that Solomon’s observations are right on target!
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
1. They are self-motivated… unlike the sluggard who has no motivation! (no guide or ruler)
a. Nobody has to stand over the ant with a whip to get him to do his job. He just does it!
b. This is a great lesson for the kids here tonight—wouldn’t it be great if nobody had to tell you kids to clean your room? You just did it!
c. Wouldn’t it be great if nobody had to tell your son to pick up his dirty socks… he just did it!
d. Wouldn’t it be great if the believers in the local church were so motivated?
e. Imagine how great if people just noticed a need in the church and volunteered to meet that need? “I notice we need some more helpers for Vacation Bible School. Here am I send me!” Or “I notice we need some more helpers on the clean up crew, Here am I send me!”
f. Ants don’t need to be prodded and lassoed into doing the work. They just do it!
2. They don’t work with eyeservice and are not men pleasers. (Col. 3:22-23)
a. Some men work only when the boss is looking. They work with eyeservice… in other words, they aren’t REALLY busy, they just try to LOOK busy… appear to be working…
• These are traits we could ALL incorporate into our work ethic!
b. They try to please the boss by working hard only when he is watching, but goof off when he can no longer see them. (When the cat’s away, the mice will play!)
c. Ants aren’t like that. They don’t even need a boss or an overseer keeping an eye on them to make sure the work gets done. They just do it!
d. What a great testimony for a Christian worker to be like the ant… his boss can trust him to get the job done even if he is not there to oversee the whole project!
3. Ants are diligent and hard working.
a. Have you ever watched ants work? They seem like they are in a hurry… they seem like they are on a mission to get the work done.
b. Have you ever noticed how HARD they work? Have you ever seen the size of the morsels they carry? (Like me carrying a car!)
c. Edison said, “Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”
d. Ants may not be brilliant, but they sure put a lot of perspiration into their work. We could learn from them!
e. Prov. 14:23 – In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
• Hard work pays off—but those who talk instead of work will lose out!
• Penury = poverty; need;
f. Especially in the spiritual realm do we need to be diligent in our work—keep your heart with all diligence! (Prov. 4:23)
g. II Pet. 1:5 – give diligence in adding Christian virtue to your life!
4. The ant works and doesn’t make excuses.
a. She gathers her meat in the summer… when it’s hot…
b. Other critters might think it’s too hot to work. They take the day off and go to the beach… not the ant. He doesn’t make excuses.
c. He doesn’t put pleasure above his work. He gets his work done first… even if he has to work on a beautiful summer day!
d. Prov. 26:13 – the sluggard on the other hand makes all kinds of excuses as to why he can’t go to work. (There’s a lion in the street!)
5. The ant makes use of opportunities and doesn’t procrastinate.
a. The summer is the time to plant and provide food. Fall is time to harvest.
b. There is time for rest and relaxation in between, but when it is time to work, the work needs to get done. The ants make good use of the proper opportunities to work.
c. Prov. 27:23-27 – (vs. 25) – when the hay appears, that’s the time to get it! You can’t go early… you can’t go late. You have to take advantage of opportunity when it arises.
d. Good shepherds do that for their flocks. Ants do the same.
e. We too should follow that example.
6. The ant lays up for the future.
a. Prov. 30:25 – The ant provides (prepares; makes ready) her food in the summer… she provides food for the whole year during the summer and stores it up.
b. Prov. 10:5 – The wise son gathers in the summer… like the ant!
c. The sluggard on the other hand, does not think about the future.
d. Prov. 13:4 – the sluggard may desire food next winter, but because he didn’t provide for it, he goes without.
e. Prov. 20:4 – the sluggard does not prepare ahead of time, and goes hungry! (He makes excuses… it’s too cold… then it’s too hot…)
f. It is the presumption to behave like a sluggard, and then to expect divine provision in time of need… or expect someone else to bail you out.
g. Prov. 12:11 – He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread:
h. I Tim. 6:18-19 – we need to be diligent in our good works for the Lord—laying up treasures in heaven… providing for our eternal future!
» They do not work with eye-service
» Diligent and hard working
» Don’t make excuses (too hot!)
» Makes good use of available opportunities to work
» Lays up for the future