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The Ants Go Marching In…

Solomon’s tweets (otherwise known as the book of Proverbs) is an amazing compilation of bits of wisdom from God to help us in our daily living.

As Pastor Chad began to prepare his mini-series on “The Sluggard”, he found an abundance of material in Proverbs. But, as a farmer friend of mine used to say, “He stopped preaching and went to meddlin’.”

However, to keep us with him and help the church adjust to the proper frame of reference for the sermons on laziness, Pastor Chad gave us the definition: “Laziness is the unwillingness to do the right thing at the right time in the right way because something else is easier.”

[bra_blockquote align=”]Laziness is the unwillingness to do the right thing at the right time in the right way because something else is easier.[/bra_blockquote]

Both my wife and I grew up in families that needed every member to contribute in order that the family could “make ends meet.” The work ethic that was instilled in us at those early ages has been a key factor in the accomplishments we have been able to attain throughout our lives. Being raised on a farm it is easy to relate to the admonition of the author of Proverbs. If you want to have a chance at having a good crop you have to prepare the ground, properly and at the right time. That also means you have to keep the machinery in good working order. For example, I remember being taught to smear grease on the plow shears after use to keep them from rusting. The shiny smooth plow would move through the soil turning it over neatly and uniformly. However, a rusty plow, as I painfully found out, would not do as good a job and would plug up the plow causing problems and extra work. It did not take long to learn that for all aspects of the farming operation there were right things to be done, right ways to do them and a right timing.

Farmers were informally judged by their neighbors and the community by how they ran their farms, how they maintained their machinery, treated livestock, quality of crops, treated workers, and many other aspects of their operation. As I later entered the world of banking I found these factors also influenced credit decisions. Important information and insights were obtained from an on site visit to the business being evaluated as these non-financial factors have proven to significantly influence the ability of a business to meet financial obligations.

Now that we are retired we are having to rethink how we prioritize our activities. It seems like we are busier now than when we were working full time. In fact, when people ask me what I am doing with my time I find myself saying that I really don’t know what all I am doing but I am doing a lot of it. Reflecting on Pastor Chad’s sermon I know I need to re-examine the sorting process I use to determine how I spend my time. While I think I do a pretty good job, in general, making sure I am doing what God wants me to do, I also find myself getting in daily routine “ruts” and not being as productive as I could/should be. Like, excessive time spent on crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other puzzles and word games. I know these are not bad in and of themselves and have some beneficial qualities, but too many hours a day becomes a selfish indulgement.

Solomon pointed out that even a bug, like the ant, does the right thing in the right way at the right time. They are very methodical and diligent as they built their home and gather food and protect their queen. When problems arise they immediately band together and attack the problem. It may not be the easiest decision but they devote the time and energy to do all they can to fix the problem. God wants us to follow the simple example of the ant.

So, spend time with God, study His word, ask Him to show you what He wants you to do. Road blocks, problems, obstacles will come but God will help you make the right decision. It may not be easy, but if you do the right thing at the right time in the right way God will honor your decision.

What do you think?