Monday, June 24, 2013

Go to the Ant!

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-9).

The tiny ant teaches us many lessons:

1) It is self-motivated and highly industrialized. The ant doesn't need another to make sure it gets its work done.
2) It collects its food in the proper seasons; it is prudent.
3) It is fond of its young, and takes care of them.
4) It has foresight for others and shows kindness.
5) It works quietly without show and until the work is done. In this, it teaches us perseverance.
6) It works in cooperation and organization with others. In union there is indeed strength.
7) It keeps its home meticulously clean.
8) It knows its job and does it.
9) The ant has initiative, that wonderful virtue of resourcefulness that knows the how and when.

God is the God of nature, and it's amazing how even the smallest creatures can teach us such great lessons. We human beings can learn diligence, how to recognize opportunities, and individual initiative from the ant. "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me" (John 9:4). The foreseeing person is a foregoing person. Sometimes we have to forego, or sacrifice, a pleasure today so we can realize a goal tomorrow. This is true in both the spiritual and material realm.

Stephen Vincent Benet said: "The ant finds kingdoms in a foot of ground." Perhaps this says to us that, even in our small area of life, we can find our sphere of contentment! Each of us has our own job to do in our sphere, responsibilities which we can't hand over to others. Rest is a reward after we have done our job. Aldegonde, coadjutor of William of Orange, is said to have for a motto, "Repos aillerus," or "Rest elsewhere." If the farmer rested because it was cold or windy, when he should be sowing and plowing, few of us would eat.

"I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart" (Jerome K. Jerome). God does help those who help themselves but even the starving must walk to the table! Of course if they are crippled, we help them; otherwise, it's best to encourage others to help themselves. After major surgery, the doctor forces the patient to get up and walk. If the patient lay there until s/he felt like getting up, the person would never do so. Sometimes we must force ourselves to get going in life.

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