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20130706-164012.jpgGo to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8 NIV)

Summertime puts me in the mood for a picnic in the park. Yet picnics aren’t complete without the stereotypical ant raiding the picnic basket and carting off enough to feed an army. (At least that’s what all the cartoons show.)

It reminds me of another story from my childhood. One of Aesop’s Fables, the Ant and the Grasshopper, tells the story of a frolicking grasshopper who filled his summer days with playful fun while pitying his friend the ant who kept busy carrying heavy loads of corn. Why worry about tomorrow when you can play today? But when winter came and the grasshopper was cold and hungry, he finally realized that the ant was the smart one who prepared for the future.

If you’ve ever taken the time to observe ants, they spend their time marching in a line to reach food and then work together to perform Herculean feats by carrying portions bigger than themselves back to their home. Every day the same. (Unfortunately, with messy kids in our house who don’t clean up after themselves, I’ve seen the occasional trail from the back door across the kitchen floor firsthand and have battled to discourage the critters from returning to such a handy food supply!)

While I don’t consider myself a sluggard (except on holidays like the 4th of July when I planned on doing nothing monumental), I can learn a lot from the ant. Am I preparing for the future? Am I saving for a rainy day? Do I believe that difficult days may come? Am I making steady progress toward my goals every day or wasting precious moments? Can I motivate myself to get things done or do I need a commander to kick me into gear? Do I work together with others to achieve big things I could never do alone?

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)

Creation declares that teamwork is vital and there is a future to prepare for.

What about you? Are you self-motivated or a procrastinator who needs an overseer? Would you be more like the ant or the grasshopper? Is there a balance to be found?

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