For my Sunday School class this month, I’ve decided to dig into Proverbs 30:24-28. This is what those verses say:
24 “Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 coneys are creatures of little power,
yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,
yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.”
The pattern of verse 24 carries on to the other four verses: the first line describes the weakness of the creature while the second emphasizes its wisdom. The first animal that Agur (the author of Proverbs 30) brings to our attention is the ant. Physically, ants are very weak. Now I know that in school we all learned about how the ant can carry things that are many times its weight, and if they were our size they could be lifting buildings, but let’s face it: they aren’t our size. They are mere centimeters long, and while the things they lift may be big compared to themselves, they are miniscule next to everything else. Ants are creatures of little strength.
But strength is not what matters here. Ants are admirable little creatures not for what they can carry, but for how much they carry. They work tirelessly for months, storing up their food for the winter, never stopping to play or relax. They work together as a group, there is no selfishness among them. They have one goal that keeps them going: they need enough food to last the winter. Their focus is not on what seems good here and now, but on what is necessary in the long run. And in that area, it seems to me that the ants have more wisdom than we do. How often do we in America stop to think about the future? How often do we look at a choice and ask, “What will be the consequences of this tomorrow or next week or next year?” We are so caught up with what we want to do right now that we often forget how what we want right now could hurt us immensely for the rest of our lives. God calls us in His Word to make every moment count. In Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul tells us to
“15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Be very careful how you live… make the most of every opportunity… does that describe your life? I know that I am guilty in this area. My choices are so often based on feelings and urges, not on what I know is worthwhile, necessary or right. Let’s learn a lesson from the ants: we need to make every moment count, to act in the present with a thought for the future. Even though the wise thing is not always fun or easy, I can guarantee that when you make wisdom your lifestyle you will always have food for the winter.