A startlingly contrast exists between the sluggard and the ant. Sluggards epitomize the lazy. An ant, by contrast, works because that’s what ants do. No one has to watch over him to make sure he is doing his job. He doesn’t have to punch a time clock because his work never ends. He doesn’t worry about how much he is being paid because he knows that all the other ants are doing their part too and that the needs of the colony will be met. The ant is the example of industry, diligence, and planning.
We, therefore, are to avoid the lifestyle of the sluggard and mimic the example of the ant. What specifically are we to mimic about the ant?
- Work without oversight.
The ant works without another over him. Nobody has to set their alarm or hold them accountable or check their time cards. Nobody has to tell them what to do. Ants get the job done because that is the nature and the character of ants. Do your work without being forced, coerced, or manipulated by income or threat of punishment. Be self-motivated. Do your work because work is good, noble, needed, meaningful, and a blessing.
2. Work without being driven.
Sluggards are procrastinators. They put things off until the last minute and are late for everything, if they show up at all. They blame everyone and everything for their failure to accomplish anything rather than to admit that they are lazy. They are terrible planners, in fact, they don’t plan for anything. They live for the moment, reacting to whatever comes instead of preparing for the inevitable realities of life.
We, on the other hand, like the ant, should not have to be driven to work, but should do our work, because it needs to be done. We should work hard and prepare ahead for our winters—job loss, emergencies, vacations, retirements, etc.
3. Work without excuses.
A lazy person uses every kind of excuse to avoid work. It has been said that if you don’t want to do something then any excuse will do. No one can find more excuses to not do something than the person who is too lazy to do anything.
4. Work leads to wealth.
Occasionally, some fool might fall into money through an inheritance or dumb luck. The pervasive way to wealth comes through laboring down the long road of work.
A wealthy grandfather told his young grandson who asked him about how he could become rich, too, said, “All you have to do is work half a day.” The grandson was thinking this sounds pretty easy. But before the young man finished his thought, the grandfather added, “And it doesn’t matter which half of the day you work: the first twelve hours or the second twelve hours.”
I love David Hubbard’s statement: “Hard work ought to be the normal routine of us who serve a carpenter Christ, who follow the lead of a tentmaker-apostle, and who call ourselves children of a Father who is still working.”
When we work without oversight, without being driven, and without excuses, then we have no need to worry. God will provide. And, people will recognize our Father in Heaven when we do.