Let me be real with you. I’ve not wanted to write this post. I’m not the kind of guy that you’d be able to compare to an ant. I’m the other guy in the story. I always have been, and I probably always will be. At least when it comes to my natural bent.
I don’t like waking up in the mornings. I have this sinus condition that makes it hard to get peaceful rest, so when the morning comes around I don’t usually feel rested. I’m also a light sleeper, so any little sound tends to wake me up. And with the stresses of finances looming over my head, there have been many nights where I lay in bed trying to come up with ways to solve our pressing needs.
For you, that probably came off as a big list of excuses for why I don’t like to get up. And you may be right. They are all real for me. I am not making any of them up. I can’t breath through my nose much of the time (including now), I am a light sleeper, and I have been up many nights lately. But, as you read it I’m sure it comes across as a guy who just doesn’t want to get out of bed. And the truth is, I don’t.
The question is, if things were different would I be? And the answer to that question is, I don’t know and I don’t know if I ever will. If I didn’t have these excuses, would I be any better at waking up in the morning? Maybe I need to read Andy Traub’s new book, Early to Rise.
So the challenge for me becomes, will I allow these excuses to keep me from becoming the proverbious man I desire to become? Up until now, I would have to say – yes. They have kept me. At least when it comes to this passage.
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
observe its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
overseer, or ruler,
yet it prepares its food in the summer;
it gathers at the harvest what it will eat.
How long, you sluggard, will you lie there?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to relax,
and your poverty will come like a robber,
and your need like an armed man.
Remember, this passage comes in the context of what we talked about yesterday, chewing your leg out of the bear trap of debt. Do you remember the intensity with which we are supposed to tackle that problem. I don’t think it’s a mistake that after that passage we find a passage about having a strong work ethic.
If we do as the ant does, and work hard whether or not our boss tells us to (if we even have a boss), then we will find that when we need the resources they will be there. We can’t be lazy in life and expect to reap great rewards. We can’t be lazy, not work, take out loans and pile up credit card debt and expect to be rewarded. The opposite will be true for us. Poverty will overtake us like a robber.
That’s what this is about, laziness and impatience. We are lazy – so we don’t want to work for anything. And we are impatient – we want to have whatever we want when we want it and without having to work for it.
This all reminds me of a tape I have from when I was a kid, Ants’hillvania. It’s a story about a colony of ants, and how they all work hard. They work hard and listen to the “wisdom from above.” Antony, (the story chock full of ant puns) decides he wants to do his own thing, so he does. The story follows the parable of the prodigal son. Which might be kind of fitting for us.
Yes, in one sense we are all prodigals who need to come to repentance. But what about after we have repented of our sins and are trying to live a holy life? There are still times when we will fail to live up to the word completely and need to repent. We also need to listen to the “wisdom from above” and adjust our lives to it. So, when we hear God’s word tell us not to take on debt and to work hard like the ants, we should probably do so. The more right turns we take in adjusting our lives, the closer we will come to living the Proverbious life.