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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 2, 2014

A lesson from the ant

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Diligence is a topic we find several times in the Bible, especially in the book of Proverbs. There diligence is often contrasted with the results of laziness in a picturesque way, as in Proverbs 10, verse 26: "As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him."

What creature in God's creation is described as being diligent in th Proverbs? "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise." According to this, a lazy person is not wise!

King Solomon continues with his description of the ant: "Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man" (Proverbs 6:6-11).

Solomon's description shows us that diligence in the Bible means more than just working. The ant doesn't have to have someone tell it what to do. It recognizes what needs to be done and takes care of it. Any supervisor recognizes the value of an employee with such an approach – someone who learns his job, does it and doesn't have to be reminded what to do. Those who must constantly be told what to do are rarely successful because they not only drain the time and energy of their managers, but they show little or no initiative or potential for advancement. The lesson here from the ant is that we should be diligent on our own, without outside pressure.

The ant's diligence is also reflected in its providing for future needs. It instinctively recognizes the need to prepare for the future. When the opportunity is there to gather food, it willingly and diligently works hard to store up provisions for lean times ahead. Likewise, we should recognize the need to prepare for the future. When circumstances are good, make the most of them, recognizing that it won't always be this way. When opportunities present themselves, we should learn to recognize and act on them while circumstances allow. Otherwise they might not present themselves again.

One of the tiniest of God's creatures is an example of diligence. The ant is small, not strong, but nevertheless achieves something. We should never allow our perceived weakness to be an excuse for lacking in diligence.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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