They appeared on our deck last year in record numbers. More than a nuisance, if not dealt with, they would eventually cause pretty severe damage. Carpenter ants. They seemed to be on a mission. A relatively straight line of them emerged from the far side of the deck and traveled to the downspout closest to the screen room, before disappearing from sight. Where were they going? We needed to find their nest before they turned our house into a feast.
While making a call from our screen room the next day, I noticed one of the pesky ants crawling by the door latch. As I sat and observed for a few minutes, ant after ant marched up out of the thin strip of wood that formed the seal between the doorframe and the door. So that was it! That's where they were coming from! Sure enough, after I finished my phone call and investigated further, I saw where the ants had begun making their nest. A quick trip to the garage for some ant killer and the insects were a thing of the past; their home thoroughly doused with pesticide. It felt good knowing that our house was no longer a smorgasbord for these 6-legged creatures.
As I celebrated my victory that day, I was glad I had eradicated a pesky invader. I wasn't in the mood to consider the wisdom of the ant. Yes, you read that correctly. Ants are wise. Such a tiny insect, yet in the book of Proverbs, Solomon points out its wisdom. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest" (6:6-8; KJV).
A lesson in diligence is just waiting to be learned if I observe the ant. Science backs up scripture when it reveals that ants live in highly organized colonies, each ant responsible for a specific job. Some ants are responsible for cultivation of food sources, others engage in warfare, while others function strictly as workers. These ants don't have a boss, yet they carry out their individual jobs without fail. Talk about self-motivation! No need to call in the motivational speakers, these guys don't rely on cheerleaders to get them pumped up. They know a job needs to be done - so they do it!
When food is available, they gather it! No use holding meetings and strategizing about better ways to collect and store the food. Instead of talking about it, they work and accomplish their purpose. What about me? I have a choice to make each day. Will I be productive or give in to the temptation to procrastinate? If I tiptoe after 'Procrastination,' what will be the outcome? Solomon's answer stands in stark contrast to the outcome of the diligent. "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man" (Proverbs 6:9-11).
Put plainly, when I give in to laziness and allow myself to be drawn away from my responsibilities, I'll come up poor and empty. 'Laziness' tries to convince me that I should put off today, what can be done tomorrow. It whispers in my ear that I don't need to spend time in God's word today, because I read an extra chapter yesterday. It convinces me that I don't really need to keep track of my spending because budgets are way too restrictive anyway. When I follow after 'Laziness' I end up discouraged and frustrated. In spite of its allurement, 'Laziness' is not a good friend!
Wow, what a big lesson from such a tiny insect! Each one of us has the opportunity to choose our course for this day. Two words that begin with the same three letters, but have very different outcomes. Procrastination or productivity? Which will you choose today? Look to the ant, and be wise!
Do you struggle with procrastination? What helps you to overcome this hurdle? I'd love to hear your tips for staying on track!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the lesson I can learn from the ant. Forgive me when I choose to be lazy. Help me to be a better steward of the time and resources You give me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Because of Him,
*A re-post from 2010.