CONSIDER THE ANT
Proverb 6:6-11 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. 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.
Webster describes a slug as "a small mollusk resembling and moving like a land snail." A sluggard is a word describing the character of a person and is derived from the same verbal base as that of a slug. This person is described as slow and lazy, indolent and slothful, idle and sluggish. These verses indicate that the sluggard spends his time lying around sleeping. Instead of having working hands, his hands are folded in sleep. The sluggard can be assured that poverty will overtake himslowly but surely. Poverty is unavoidable; it will overtake himjust as an armed man overtakes a defenseless person. To be referred to as a sluggard is certainly not a compliment.
Laziness is a sin and is condemned by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians, for even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12). This is a strong admonition against the sluggard.
The sluggard is asked to look to the ways of the ant for an example of working to provide for the physical things necessary in life. The ant is a remarkable creature that is full of industry and foresight. The ant is continually busy during the summer months and during harvest time storing food that will be needed during the winter months that lie ahead when food is not available. For his labor and foresight, the ant is considered wise. The sluggard is asked to consider the ways of the ant, to adopt them as his own work habits, and, in doing so, will be wise when it comes to gathering and storing provisions for physical needs.
Just as there are physical sluggards, there are also spiritual sluggards. Just as one can fail to provide for physical needs for themselves, their families and their neighbors, one can also fail to provide for their spiritual needs, as well as the spiritual needs of others around them. There is physical work that needs to be done, but there are also spiritual responsibilities. The same zeal, desire, and foresight needed to accomplish one is needed to accomplish the other.
Just as one receives temporal rewards for physical works, spiritual works are rewarded in heaven. Jesus told His disciples of the need for workers in His kingdom: The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest (Matt. 9:37-38). Paul told the Corinthians of laborer's reward. ...every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor, For we are all laborers together with God (1 Cor. 3:8-9).
How important are the good works of zealous Christians? They are the proof of our love for God. There are many that say they are children of God that prove otherwise due to the lack of spiritual works. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (Tit. 1:16). When becoming a Christian, one takes on responsibilities beyond those of providing for physical needs. It is said that Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Tit. 2:14).
Be assured that God will not overlook your good works. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance to hope unto the end: that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For your physical and spiritual needs, as well as the needs of others, Consider the Ant.