Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Ants are great teachers (Pr 30:24-28). There are things you can learn from ants that will help you professionally more than your academic or technical education. Ants are diligent and prudent: diligent by working hard without coercion, and prudent by saving part of all production. These two basic necessities for success are generally neglected in modern societies, where pleasure is emphasized and deficit spending is encouraged.
What is a sluggard? A person who is slow, lazy, and does not like to work hard. He is a pain and risk to those that must rely on him (Pr 10:26). Diligent men, or those that work hard, will be successful (Pr 10:4; 12:24; 14:23; 22:29; 28:19), but lazy men, who avoid hard work, are losers (Pr 6:10-11; 12:24; 19:15; 20:4,13; 24:30-34). Are you a sluggard?
Sluggards are too arrogant to be taught (Pr 26:16), so Solomon mocked them with ants. If they were to watch ants for a few minutes, these haughty bums could learn success, for ants are much wiser than sluggards. A Harvard MBA is not as useful as what is taught in your yard everyday. But sluggards are too proud to learn from the very small teacher.
Sluggards stay in bed, for they love sleep (Pr 6:9-11; 20:13; 24:30-34). They have energy to turn back and forth in bed, but barely enough energy to get food to their mouths (Pr 26:14-15). They want the good things of life like others, but they do not want to work for them (Pr 13:4; Ec 10:15). Lazily staying in bed is too comfortable and pleasant for them.
Think about ants. They have an excellent work ethic, unlike sluggards. If you get down in the grass and watch these little creatures, you quickly see wisdom and useful habits. Ants do not sleep beyond daybreak, and they do not take siestas, so do not worry about waking them in the morning or in the afternoon. They get up, get to work, and stay at work.
They are always moving, quickly and energetically. They work efficiently. They work tirelessly. They do not stand around, sit around, or drag through their work. They work fast. They do not pace themselves to spread work out: they go right at a project and work hard until it is finished (Eccl 9:10). They hustle! They will not quit until the job is done.
They do not need supervision (Pr 6:7), for they get to work and find something to do without direction. They do not have to be ordered or threatened. They do not have to be reminded frequently of what is expected. What a difference from the sluggard, who must always be prodded to get anything done. Ants have a conscience from God to work hard.
When times are good, they work extra hard to store up for bad times (Pr 6:8); they do not take it easy because there is the appearance of plenty. They store surplus rather than eat it all. They deny themselves short-term pleasure for long-term prosperity. In their wisdom, they even bite off the ends of grain kernels to keep them from germinating in storage.
They do not have union rules or selfish habits keeping them from helping others. They eagerly try to outwork each other by focused and tireless efforts. If one is moving something too large for it alone, others will help him get it where it needs to be. They are committed to help their whole colony succeed. They are not selfish loners.
They do not choose the easiest way or get discouraged if the job cannot be quickly finished. When facing difficulties, they energetically try again and again until they are successful. They will go great distances from home in order to find their food. They will get into houses, cars, and just about anything in order to find what they need.
Dear reader, consider the ways of these little people. Are you like the ant in the way you attack your job every day? Are you like the ant in the way you discipline your spending to save some of all your income? Hard work will do much more than talking (Pr 14:23), dreaming (Pr 28:19), or sleeping (Pr 6:9-11; 20:13). Get busy! Financial prudence will do much more than spend (Pr 21:20) or waste (Pr 18:9) income. Put some in savings today!