Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
Saving money is smart! Saving money is right! Ants do it by the wisdom God gave them. Do you? You are doomed to eventual financial pain and trouble, if you do not save a portion of all income. If you spend all you make, or spend more than you make, as most Americans today, you will soon be in financial difficulty, pain, shame, stress, and trouble.
Saving improves standards of living for individuals and nations. Fools spend all income to fulfill their lusts today. They will even spend beyond their income by credit to buy things they cannot afford. But this results in paying interest on debt rather than receiving interest or dividends for savings, and it denies the nation capital for legitimate expansion.
Savings is not an option. It is not a suggestion. It is not a good idea that you can ignore or neglect. It is a command of God made directly, as in this proverb, and indirectly, as in proverbs pertaining to protection against potential trouble. If you do everything else right in your business or job, but neglect savings, God will expose and punish your sinful folly.
Ants stay underground during the whole winter season, and they consume the food they stored up during the prosperity of summer and harvest. Without any rulers, guides, or overseers, ants know to be conscious of the future and to prepare for it (Pr 6:7). Saving is not something you should be forced to do; you should want to do it for its great benefits.
This little creature has great wisdom, and God expects you to learn from it (Pr 6:6-8; 30:25). The first lesson is hard work, which sluggards can learn by watching the constant activity of ants. They do not talk about sports at the water fountain! The second lesson is being a self-starter; they do not need drill sergeants to get them going or remind them of other projects to work on. And this proverb is the third lesson; they save for the future.
If a man is a diligent self-starter, the ant’s first two lessons, he will make considerable income during his lifetime, even if he is uneducated and/or underemployed. But how much he makes is not the best measure; it is rather what he keeps. For what you keep shows better character, protects against the future, and allows investment opportunities.
Fools live paycheck to paycheck. Wise men save some of all income, at least ten percent, and put it aside, to be used only for a dire emergency or investment. They consider the future, not just spending whatever comes to hand (Pr 21:20). They cut expenses as much as they need to in order to save some income. They fear the cost of high living (Pr 21:17).
The younger you are and the better your income, the more you should save. Youth is not for playing; it is for working and saving, for difficult days are coming. You can play later. If business or income is booming, you should save much more than ten percent, for leaner times are ahead and so are investment opportunities to leverage your savings.
You can lose your assets, business income, or job, no matter how secure you might think you are. This sinful world is always changing, and Solomon warned elsewhere that assets and income can and will decline (Pr 23:5; 27:23-24). One purpose for savings is to be prudent and provide for this future possibility to protect yourself (Pr 22:3; 27:12).
Wise men also know savings provides the capital to buy income-producing assets that can leverage your ability and effort to get ahead farther and faster. Consider the benefit of owning an ox for a manual farmer (Pr 14:4), but he will never have an ox without disciplined savings to purchase one. Then he can save faster to buy another one!
This view sometimes calls saving your seed corn. As farmers know well, they must have seed to plant the next year; just the same as you need savings for your next difficulty or opportunity. If you consume all your income, you have nothing to help you the next year, so you get poorer each year, though you may not be able to feel it or see it immediately.
The first five rules of Bible economics are obey God, pay God first, pay yourself second, work hard, and work smart. These basic rules are guaranteed to work, for God inspired them, and Solomon confirmed them. The ant does four of them, so you can be better than ants! It obeys God, saves much, works hard, and is very smart (Pr 30:25). Consider it!
While saving for your financial future, you must also lay up treasures in heaven for your spiritual future (I Tim 6:17-19). Jesus taught this wisdom by the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-9). God is righteous, so He will perfectly remember investments of godliness (Heb 6:10; Matt 25:31-46). Are you making your calling and election sure (II Pet 1:10-11)?