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. — Proverbs 6:6-8
It is harvest time, and that put me in mind of the above passage of Scripture.
Of course it speaks of the summertime activities of the ant as well as the harvest time activities, but it was the harvest aspect that brought this to my mind. Under either consideration, we are told that it is wise to give regard to the conduct of the tiny ant. The lesson we learn from the ant is industry. All year round the ant gives due diligence to providing for its needs.
At this point the reader might think that this sounds like self-dependency, and the question might be asked, “Aren’t we supposed to put our faith in God and not in ourselves?”
The answer of course is a resounding yes. We are taught not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear (Matthew 6:31). But this doesn’t mean that we sit on the stool of do-nothing until God drops food and drink in our laps and wraps clothes around us.
This passage goes on to say “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (v. 33). The lesson here is about priorities. We shouldn’t worry about natural needs, but our focus should be on God and the things of God and obeying God.
While God teaches trusting fully on Him and being patient and waiting on Him, it never, ever teaches being lazy. If we truly trust the Lord, instead of saying, “God will take care of it,” we will be saying, “Since God will take care of it, what I am supposed to be doing to serve the Lord the best I can.”
Much has been said about the five stones that David took with him to fight Goliath. Here is my take on those five stones: David filled his bag up; David took all the stones he could. Not because David was afraid and not because he was trusting in himself, but because he truly believed God would deliver Goliath into his hands. Because David believed this, he wanted to be as prepared as possible for the battle, he wanted to serve the Lord and to represent Him the very best that he could.
Since God had brought this into David’s hand, David wanted to do it with all his might (Ecclesiastes 9:10); if David was going to fight Goliath, he wanted to do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto men, not even himself (Colossians 3:23).
This brings us back to the ant. Without prompting or instruction or guidance, the ant goes about each day of the year with great diligence doing what it needs to be doing, not because it is fearful of what will happen if it doesn’t; but knowing (in whatever way an ant can know) that God is in control.
Faith in God puts full trust in God which inspires diligence to serve the very best we can.
•Philip Green is pastor of Greenwood Primitive Baptist Church.