It’s not often that we look to the insect world for guidance. Yet that’s exactly what Proverbs 6:6–8 encourages us to do: “You lazy people can learn by watching an anthill. Ants don’t have leaders, but they store up food during harvest season.” (CEV) Such a wise example carries four important lessons for us.
1. Harvests, literal or figurative, should not be taken for granted. The opportunity to gather provisions—to earn money or build a surplus—is not always available. That’s why it’s important to make the most of every opportunity while we can. The ant doesn’t sit out a harvest cycle to figure out what it wants to do with its life. It gathers while the gathering is good. If you have a chance to build a surplus—to do work that rewards you with pay or benefits—do it while you can, for as long as you can.
2. Fortunes can turn in an instant. If the “dot-com bubble” collapse of 2000–2001 or the “real estate bubble” collapse of 2007 taught us anything, it’s that when things seem too good to be true, financially speaking, they probably are.
3. Productivity should be a constant. The author of Ecclesiastes tells us there is a season for everything, including planting and reaping (Ecclesiastes 3:2). That suggests a continuous cycle. If you do not reap when it’s time to reap, you could be out of step with the natural rhythms of life.
4. Relying on others to do the work for you is counterproductive. Working to provide for our needs, along with the needs of our families, can give us a sense of pride, accomplishment, and purpose. The satisfaction that comes from storing up provisions—that is, from reaping the benefits of an honest day’s work—cannot be overstated. Every person who is physically capable should experience it.