“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:”
There are certain occasions in the Bible when we are directed to look at the behavior or traits of an animal and are asked to learn an important lesson from them, behavioral or spiritual. One of the most well known of these is found in Proverbs 6:6, where we are told to “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”
The instruction is addressed to a sluggard. By this, the writer of Proverbs is referring to someone who is lazy, lethargic, and generally without any industry. The Bible values work and opposes lethargy.
So we are to go to the ant and consider her ways. The writer is not suggesting that we identify as an animal, but simply learn that the ant gets on with her work. We also notice that ants tend to work cooperatively – often in very large colonies that can comprise hundreds or thousands of individuals.
I remember a house of mine being invaded by ants. I came back after a vacation, to find an interstate of ants, marching in opposite directions from their entrance point in a crack in the door-frame. This interstate stretched across the lounge, into the kitchen, and up onto a work surface, and into a kitchen cupboard, where the ants were picking up crystals of sugar from an open sugar bowl. This fascinating scene reminds us of how hard and how cooperatively we should work, and that is the lesson that the Bible is asking the sluggard to learn.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Lord, forgive me when I an tempted to be lazy. Forgive me if I do not give the best to my work, or work well with others. I pray that You will teach me the lesson of the ant, and that my work will be an offering of praise to You. Amen.
Ref: Encyclopaedia Britannica, < https://www.britannica.com/animal/ant >, accessed 11/29/2017.
Image: GNU Document License, version 1.2.