Ants, sluggards, and feeloaders. Who is sleeping on your couch? Is there a lazy sluggard eating your food, playing video games on your television, sleeping on your couch, making excuses for everything, and won’t look for a job? In this world, there are ants and sluggards. Solomon taught that we need to consider the prosperous ways of the ant and avoid the pitfalls of the sluggards.
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)
ANTS, SLUGGARDS, AND YOU
Wisdom teaches a lazy sluggard to learn some important lessons from the ant. Notice the ant has no guide, overseer, or ruler but is self-motivated working hard in the summer and saving for the winter. The ant thinks about its needs tomorrow and does not consume more than it produces. The ant is wise by gathering food in the summer and storing some for winter. That makes the ant future oriented.
The sluggard is different that the ant. The sluggard is lazy by habit, unmotivated, slow, fearful, and doesn’t think ahead. No one likes a lazy, good for nothing, sluggard, that sits around the house all day watching video games while you do a 9 to 5.
You don’t need a sluggard sleeping on your couch.
Solomon wrote, “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:9-11)
Ants and sluggards represent two different types of people, the present-minded sluggard class, and the future-minded ant class. They also represent producers and consumers.
Edward Banfield, a Harvard political scientist, used this ant and sluggard biblical principle to teach the difference between the upper-class in a society that were future-oriented and the lower-class in a society that were present oriented. Banfield taught that the lower classes were like the sluggard that did not think about their future, but the upper class were very future-oriented and tended to be prosperous. To change their life, the lazy sluggard needed to start imagining their future and disciplining themselves to sacrifice present pleasures for future needs.
The sluggard class, for example, focuses on things like cars, jewelry, or the latest status gadgets (depreciating consumer items). The ant, in contrast, focuses on acquiring an education, job, or getting that business off the ground (production minded and future-oriented).
Scripture gives another example of being future oriented. “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field, and afterward build thine house” (Proverbs 24:27). The lesson is, there are some things we need before buying a house like getting an education, learning a trade, and getting a good job before buying things meant for consumption. Solomon wrote that the lazy sluggard is always in need but has nothing. He said, “The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Proverbs 13:4).
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, there were the wise and there were the foolish. The wise kept their lamps full of oil but the foolish did not. Then came the bridegroom but the foolish were not ready. The door was shut. The door of opportunity closed.
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:8-10)
Let’s consider the sluggard.
THE SLUGGARD IS LAZY. Lazy people stick close to the bed and couch. We call these people couch potatoes. They sit around all day wasting their lives away sleeping, watching television, or playing video games. These are the same people that would rather stay on welfare and live off the taxpayers than find a job. Scripture says the sluggard is “attached to his bed like a door swinging on its hinges” (Proverbs 26:14).
THE SLUGGARD PROCRASTINATES. His motto is, “Why do something today that can be done tomorrow?” Procrastination speaks of people that never get around to doing anything positive with their lives. They don’t have their priorities straight and often wait to the last minute to do what needs to be done.
THE SLUGGARD IS FULL OF EXCUSES. An excuse is a reason not to do something. Good excuses and bad excuses have the same result, they are both excuses. The sluggard has many excuses. Even imaginary excuses like, “There is a lion in the road” (Proverbs 26:13).
THE SLUGGARD DOES NOT SAVE.According to a survey of 1,000 adults released by Bankrate.com, nearly one in three (29%) of American adults (that’s roughly 70 million) have no emergency savings at all — the highest percentage since Bankrate began doing this survey five years ago. What’s more, only 22% of Americans have at least six months of emergency savings (that’s what advisers recommend) — the lowest level since Bankrate began doing the survey.
Now let’s review the ant.
THE ANT IS SELF MOTIVATED. Self-motivated people don’t need a parent, a teacher, or boss to get them going. Ants are self-starters.
THE ANT IS FUTURE ORIENTED. Ants think ahead. They are future oriented. Because they think about tomorrow, they will do what it takes to prepare for the unseen. They believe for the best and prepare for the worst. The ant thinks ahead and plans accordingly. Scripture confirms this behavior, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28-30).
THE ANT IS A SAVER. The ant is disciplined, works hard, saves, and refuses to consume more than it produces.
THE ANT PREPARES FOR TIMES OF SCARCITY. My father owned a large farm. During the summer months, I worked bailing hay for the cows and horses. We had a saying, “Make hay while the sun is shining.” That meant we needed to get the hay cut, bailed, and in the barn while the weather was good. When it rains, you can’t bail hay. And if you don’t pay attention to the weather you can lose the harvest if you cut at the wrong time.
Ants and sluggards don’t get along. They both have different world views. Ants don’t want to take care of dead-beat sluggards. The ant works hard for his money and is future oriented. He will sacrifice in the present for the sake of the future. The sluggard is lazy and doesn’t care to think about tomorrow. The ant sacrifices today knowing he will benefit tomorrow, but the sluggard lives only for today.
Sluggards resent the lifestyle of ants. In winter (scarcity) the ant’s wisdom is in full view, so too the sluggards laziness. The sluggard is a fantasy dreamer. He allows life to pass him by thinking there will never be a winter, crises, or a day of lack. To the sluggard, there is no need to prepare for tomorrow. He thinks there will always be an ant somewhere that will take care of him.
The world is full of lazy sluggards refusing to take accountability for their lives. You are not a sluggard. You take Solomon’s wise counsel, work hard, plan, think ahead, and are willing to sacrifice present consumption for the sake of the future.
© Apostle Jonas Clark STAY INFORMED
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