Friday, May 17, 2013

Tiny Wisdom




I often feel the need to teach life lessons to my daughter. She is just as often not thrilled to receive them, but nonetheless, I feel as a parent, it is my duty. Whenever possible, I teach the lessons with the best back-up expert I can find. Without exception, the wisest advice is always contained in one favorite book- The Bible.

The particular lesson I wanted to impart had to do with not procrastinating. I remembered that the Bible uses the ant to illustrate what seems to me an excellent treatise on not procrastinating. In Proverbs 6, the ant is extolled as follows:

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? "A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest"- Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11 NASB)

The ant plans ahead. She cares for her needs in the present, but with an eye on the future as well. She prepares. And she does so without anyone telling her to do so. She does what is needed well in advance, and without compulsion. She does what is right, because it is right, and she doesn't put it off. In contrast, the sluggard prefers to rest a little, fold his hands, and put off for tomorrow what he should do today. In the end, the ant will have all she needs, when she needs it, but the sluggard will be in poverty and want.

I was struck that the sluggard only does a "little folding of the hands to rest." If we do only a little procrastinating every day, it adds up. In the end, we will reap a big problem. Presumably, the ant in contrast gathers a little each day. In the end, she will reap a huge harvest. Such a tiny, often unnoticed creature, and what a world of wisdom she contains.




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