Lessons from the Ant

It is far too easy to read the book of Proverbs, or even just one proverb, and think that is “good advice” or that “makes sense to me.” For example, there is a proverb that directs us to closely observe an ant and then give some thought as to the lessons we might learn. What does the ant teach us?

Proverbs 6:6-8 “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.

My son, Consider the ant’s ways. What might you learn?

This sounds like just practical advice. Don’t be a lazy bum. Look urgently for food and get it back to the nest. Don’t wait for someone to give you directions to become more productive and useful. Remember there is a colony of others who are going to benefit from your energies. Think about times of plenty and times of lack and plan accordingly. This is really an illustration of one aspect of a theological term – God’s work of sanctification in the life of the true Christian. Sanctification is progress towards proper functioning as designed by the Creator.

Something Bigger Than That Ant

The book of Proverbs is far more than just a compilation of wise Benjamin Franklin quotes. It is also more than just a collection of King Solomon’s good ideas for life. Proverbs is a love letter from someone who loves you and me. It is about a relationship. Consider the following from the first couple of chapters of Proverbs:

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” 1:8-9

“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” 1:10

“…my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.” 1:15-16

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” 2:1-6

Adopted by God

The reason King Solomon is writing this is deeper than just him talking to other young men or to his own sons. This is a reminder of the relationship of the believer in Jesus Christ with God the Father. That is what makes us “sons,” whether male or female. Therefore, when we read Proverbs, we should be seeing that a loving heavenly Father sent his Son in love to make a relationship possible. We can be a son, male or female. That is the message of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Don’t miss it by substituting something far less, like bonnets or baskets or the Easter Bunny.

All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.