Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer, food for the winter.
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. Proverbs 6:6-11
Wise people take initiative. They just don’t sit and watch; they take action to accomplish what they believe God wants.
I’m discovering biblical principles to equip us for life – to live our lives to the fullest, to live well. Proverbs is full of them, and while chapter six packs a punch, I chose to focus on vs. 9-11.
Wise living means understanding and patterning our lives according to the structure and order that God built into the world. A truly wise person lives according to God’s plan.
It is so easy to be lazy in today’s fast-paced world. You know what I’m talking about. Sleeping later than we should, putting off that item on your to-do list until tomorrow when it could be completed today (you’re in the middle of it anyway), or opting to play video games or watch another movie when we should be working.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. We all need breaks in life, but if we’re not careful, we may just find ourselves in a constant state of break. It’s not the occasional sleep-in. It becomes staying up late every night and sleeping until well past noon the next day (this does not include those who work by night, by the way). We fall behind. We get anxious. We get depressed.
Proverbs 6, Solomon writes that we should look to the ants for our example when we are tempted to be lazy. Have you ever noticed how hard ants work? They have come to realize that in order to survive, the entire colony must survive. No one stands over them; no one has to motivate them. They work on their own. They bring food back to the nest so it can be stored for the entire colony.
He also mentions the slug, which does nothing. It lays around until it finds something that it can lie on top of and suck the blood out of.
So take initiative. Someone said there are three types of people in the world: those who do not know what is happening; those who watch what is happening; and those who make things happen. Wise people make things happen. Wise people take initiative. They see a problem and act on it. They don’t just sit passively and wait for opportunities to come. They prayerfully take actions. When faced with a problem or a need, the wise person goes to God, seeks for wisdom, and then takes a piece of paper, and begins to consider his/her options. What should I do Lord? What do you want me to do? Then, they take action.
It makes sense isn’t it? If you have a problem, you take action. What else is there to do? God has designed people to live in society and carry their own weight. By working, and being self-motivated, we can survive and benefit society. But some people would prefer to live life as a slug, doing nothing but sitting around and sucking the life off of others who worked. Other people would prefer to be a “scoundrel and villain”, choosing to steal and cheat rather than work and earn their keep.
This trap gets many people in our culture. The world is filled with people with impeccable character and incredible gift sets who are accomplishing nothing in their lives because they fell into the habits of a sluggard. Internal motivation is low, and they choose a lazy rhythm of life. The next time you feel that temptation to be lazy setting in, take the Bible’s advice and go watch a colony of ants. And remember, God wants to use you, but he can’t use someone who lives live as a slug.