1. “Sluggard” is not a word that we use every day.
1) Perhaps by reading from various other translations, we can get the gist of the wise man’s advice.
Go to the ant, you hater of work; give thought to her ways and be wise (Bible in Basic English).
You lazy people can learn by watching an anthill (Contemporary English Version).
Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live (Good News Bible).
Consider the ant, you lazy bum. Watch its ways, and become wise (God’s Word).
Go to the ant, lazy man; consider her ways and be wise (Literal Translation by Jay Green).
Go unto the ant, O slothful one, See her ways and be wise (Young’s Literal Translation).
1- It’s clear that he is speaking of the slothful, or the lazy, or those who simply have no ambition for God. Webster’s Online Dictionary also defines the term as: “A person habitually lazy, idle and inactive.”
2- A number of other passages speak of the same problem.
9 For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 (NASB77)
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-13 (NASB77)
2. Now, we are supposed to learn from the ant how to live better than the sluggard. And, we are supposed to gain wisdom from our study.
1. Ants are incredibly resourceful.
1) If you block their path, they will go around the obstacle, over it, or under it. If they can do none of those things, then they will try to move it.
2) If they can’t accomplish any of those ways around the obstacle, they will try to move it. If they can’t move it, they will seek help from their fellow ants.
3) They are extremely resourceful.
2. Ants are very, very strong.
1) An Olympic weightlifter recently set a world’s record in the Olympic Games by lifting 580 lbs.
2) If he were an ant, he could have lifted well over 10,000 lbs. Ants are very, very strong.
3. There are many species of ants, and they have different characteristics.
1) Some are predators, and eat other ants.
2) Some eat only rotted fruit.
3) One particular variety takes a special type of leaf into its nest, where it gets it to grow a fungus. They feed off the fungus.
4) Some varieties sleep all winter long and do not eat; others feed during the winter on food they have put up during the summer.
5) Ants can also move very quickly. If a man could run as fast as an ant, he could run faster than a racehorse.
1.First, ants are courageous!
1) If the ants space is invaded, they will attack virtually anything. And, their bites sting. Have you ever been bitten by ants?
2) They are also very determined. They don’t give up easily. In fact, they rarely give up.
3) We often give up on our goals and dreams too easily. If we were like the ant, we would find a way to succeed. We would also do so courageously.
7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:7 (NASB77)
2.Second, ants are creative!
1) Ants don’t need a supervisor, or, as the text says: having no chief, officer, or ruler (vs. 7).
1- Ants create their own opportunities. They do not need to have someone push them, or make important decisions for them!
2- Certain things that we do in the church are things that need to be approved by the elders of the congregation.
3- However, many things just need to be done. It is that way in our regular lives as well. If we always wait to be told, or to be pushed and prodded, then we are not creating opportunities. Someone else is creating the opportunities, and they are using us to help them achieve those goals.
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17 (NASB77)
4- Is there something about making the best use of our time that is a sign of wisdom?? Is that part of what is God’s will for our lives???
2) Next, Ants never quit!
1- When there is an obstacle in their path, they never quit trying to find a way around the obstacle.
2- What a terrific philosophy of life. Never quit looking for a way to get where you are supposed to go.
3) Next, Ants think winter all summer!
1- If the particular species of ants hibernate during the winter, then they don’t eat. So, they are busy gathering their food for spring, summer, and fall. And, they make the best of their time to do so.
2- Another species of ant eats during the winter. Those ants gather their food as the others, but they also gather enough to feed them through the winter.
3- Either way, summer doesn’t last forever. So, one has to make sure that adequate preparation is made for the future.
4- We need to plan ahead as well.
4) Next, Ants think summer all winter!
1- This is so important. During the winter months, the ants are deep underground. But, when spring and summer comes, they are back at it again. They have only so much time to gather their food. They have only so much time to get it right.
2- It’s a time during the winter for exercising patience. One needs to stay positive, and be eager to seek those fresh opportunities again.
5) Finally, how much will Ants gather during the summer to prepare for the winter?
1- All that they possibly can! What a tremendous outlook on life. The “all-that-you-possibly-can” philosophy.
2- How many of us are selling ourselves short because we aren’t doing all that we possibly can; we aren’t stretching ourselves; we aren’t seeking to get better, learning more, or climbing higher. How many of us are short-changing ourselves in the game of life?
3- The Wise Man calls us “sluggards” if we aren’t taking full advantage of what God has provided for us.
3Third, ants are cooperative!
1) Ants are notorious for being cooperative with other ants. They are not as popular as toys any more, but many of us, when we were young, enjoyed “ant farms.”
1- Children could sit for hours and watch the ants at work and watch them cooperate with one another.
2- You have all likely seen ants try to move a dead grasshopper. One may be trying it himself. But, if it is too much of a challenge for one to accomplish, he will soon find many other cooperating to move the fallen insect.
3- For greater results in the Kingdom, we need to cooperate–to work together for the common good.
1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— 2 Corinthians 6:1 (NASB77)
1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1 (NASB77)
4- Think of how much good we can do if we cooperate in all things. Think of how much damage is done when brethren cease to cooperate with one another!!
4. Fourth, Ants Communicate Effectively.
1) When an ant locates a good food supply, he sends out signals to other ants to come and help him take that food back to the colony.
2) They are exceptionally good at communicating a food source, danger, or when another ant needs help moving an object, etc.
3) When we need help from our brothers and sisters, it needs to be communicated. When we know of a danger, or know of something to celebrate, etc., it needs to be communicated.
5. Fifth, Ants are Constant.
1) You don’t see “Lone Ranger” ants. They are determined as individuals, but they are also single-minded as a colony.
2) Just as the ants, we need others in our live. And, as Christians, we have common goals. The greatest of these common goals is to glorify God and to tell others the message of salvation through Christ.
25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (NASB77)
1. Ants can teach us so many important lessons.
2. Are we willing to learn these important lessons.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8 Prepares her food in the summer, And gathers her provision in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8 (NASB77)