Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Lessons From the Ant: Be Diligent

Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  The observations there are practical, and at times, humorous.

I use the following passage when I do time management seminars:

Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
   Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince
   or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer,
   gathering food for the winter.
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
   When will you wake up?
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
   a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
   scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
-Proverbs 6:6-11

I really don’t like ants.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my feet and ankles stung by these tiny, vengeful creatures (it still happens almost every time I fish along the banks of my favorite lake in Alabama).  My ongoing war with these insects isn’t limited to the great outdoors–I face a constant battle to keep the six-legged invaders out of my kitchen.  Just one crumb of food draws hundreds of these highly organized pests.

But I do see the point here in Proverbs–you can’t help but admire the diligence of the humble ant.  They are constantly at work, day or night.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet some successful people.  I also enjoy reading about those who have made an impact in their chosen field (ministry, business, athletics, etc).  Here’s one thing all of them seem to have in common:  they work hard!  Yes, they usually have some kind of “break,” such as a unique talent.  But they excelled because they took their talents and worked tirelessly to make the most of every opportunity.

I’ll give you an example from Christian history:

George Whitefield (1714-1769) did not have many advantages growing up.  He was small of stature, cross-eyed, and suffered from asthma.  He was the youngest of seven children, and his father died when he was only two years old.  He spent his childhood years helping his family earn a meager living running an inn.

But Whitefield did have a talent–an incredibly powerful speaking voice.  He discovered this talent in his late teen years.  He came to know Christ soon after, and would use his voice to transform the spiritual landscape of England and America.

How could one man do this?  Whitefield traveled thousands of miles when ships, horses, and walking were the only means of transportation (most people didn’t travel more than 30 miles from their home town).  He preached an average of thirteen sermons a week to very large audiences (sometimes numbering in the thousands).  Whitefield preached (twice) hours before his death, when he barely had the strength to stand.

Do you want to be successful?  Do you want an extraordinary life?  Do you want to make an impact?  Be prepared to work hard.

The harder I work, the luckier I get. 
-Samuel Goldwyn


  1. Timely encouragement.

  2. Just what I needed to read today. I had just read the passage above, from Proverbs and I looked for “dilligent ants” on google and ended up here. It was a nice complement to the thoughts I was having on the matter. God bless and have a nice day.

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