What we find this week in our continued study of Proverbs is very interesting, considering what we just finished talking about. We talked about not being a surety or pledge, and now, Proverbs 6:6-19, we are confronted with the call to not be lazy! There is, in the Bible, a great link between hard work, contentment, and provision. Unlike the issue before, when the requirement to procure anything was preceded by getting someone else on the hook to pay, we are going to find a call to not be lazy. God is calling us to use our hands for His glory and failure to do that is failure to worship Him in and with our lives. Work is never criticized, unless the work is for evil purposes. But too many shun work to find the easy way. What does the Bible say?

To start, we are going to look at 6:6. There is a call to look at the ants. Unlike many in our nation today, ants work and work hard. This verse says to consider her ways and be wise. The word for consider is a very heavy used word. Some 1,308 times in the Old Testament. Therefore, to narrow down where we have seen it before, we look at Proverbs. Up to this point, this word has not been used before.

The word has the idea of looking at, inspecting, consider, to see. The grammar behind this shows a statement of simple command to do what is stated. The command does not mean we just look at what it does. But notice what it says to do. It moves from considering, looking, and observing to...being wise.

Wisdom is looking at the ants, and then learning from them. Who is to do the watching? Notice it is the sluggard. Sluggard is found fourteen times in the Old Testament and all fourteen are in Proverbs. The first time is here in Proverbs 6:6, and the meaning, throughout the Scriptures, is NEVER presented in a positive way. The sluggard is presented as:

1. Someone who sleeps too much – Proverbs 6:9

2. Someone who is a harsh reality to anyone who uses them – Proverbs 10:26

3. The soul of the sluggard desires something he does not have and will not have – Proverbs 13:4

4. They are related as a hedge of thorns – Proverbs 15:19

5. They are too lazy to even lift their hand or even eat – Proverbs 19:24; 26:15

6. He will find any excuse to not work – Proverbs 20:4

7. He wants and desires, but is too lazy to get it – Proverbs 21:25.

8. Finds any reasons to stay inside – Proverbs 22:13; 26:13

9. He is related to a door hinge that only swings – Proverbs 26:14

10. Is wise only in his own mind – Proverbs 26:16.

What do we find in our society today? Many who want reparations because,

“We were mistreated in the past!”

Do I condone what happened in History? Depending on what it was, absolutely not (Not all History is bad). Were these people, who are screaming for reparations, there? No. Were we? No. Therefore, neither of us were involved. The answer then is, if you want something, work hard for it. Support and vote who clear the path to EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to work and earn (just as a side note, I am against most forms of taxation other than something akin to a fair tax [a simple use and sales tax along with import taxes]), NOT EQUAL RESULTS. Under our present structure, those who are lazy are rewarded. Those who work hard? They just better work harder.

Stop and look at how the Bible pictures those who are lazy. Yes, there are some who do need help because they are physically incapable of working. I say they should be helped. Many, however, are capable of working but do not just to game the system and get all they can. In my parents office, years ago, there was a man who was a master programmer. He did so without any arms. A sore back, unless for some rare case, is not excuse to not find a job to work. But I digress.

A Christian should be very careful they do not find themselves in this boat of being a sluggard. It is unbecoming of a Christian, and unbecoming of the gift of work. Mostly, it is dishonoring God. If there is a need or a want, then the answer is not to have anyone else pay for it, but to work for it. Work is a gift from God. Consider Genesis 2:15. Mankind, even before the fall, was given a job to do! Work is a gift and a blessing. I would encourage doing a Bible study on the word work throughout Scripture (To give a hint, the word work is used 420 times in 380 verses in the KJV). To say there is a lot that speaks toward work is an understatement.

It is from this position, seeing that work is a gift, it is vital, and it is dishonoring to God and ourselves if we are not working, we now are in a position to see what we are to observe. And from here, we find the backing for everything that was said above.

Look at Proverbs 6:7-8. They do not have a boss sitting over top of them or a manager overseeing them. They do not have a king. They know what needs to be done and they do. They put up food during the summer. All summer long they are gathering, harvesting, bringing, storing. They are preparing for the next winter when they live underground.

How many people today would starve if we went back to a Puritan Work ethic and a more agregarian structure for our country. Jamestown and Plymouth both tried a socialist structure where everyone chips in and pulls out. Most pulled, few chipped. What was instituted was the idea of private land ownership. What they grew and harvested was theirs to eat. The famous line was brought about at this time,

If you do not work, you do not eat.

This statement was not just found in America. It is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. What if, we went back to that as a system where we eat what we grew, harvested, and worked for. And to get government help would be jumping through hoops with requirements to show why you have to have help. How many in our country would starve? How many would make it? Looks pretty bleak. Hunger is a great motivator and that moves us to work.

Are we seeing the truth of work in our lives? Perhaps we are reading this and thinking this is too much. Either this is not what you are going to do, or perhaps you may be thinking you cannot do. Yes, it takes some self motivation to get started, but you can work. If you just refuse, then I would point you to the list above. Harsh? No. As a Christian, our work does indeed praise God – Colossians 3:17.

That means then that our work must be for God, not for our manager and boss – Colossians 3:23. Notice the ants. They are not lounging around until their boss comes around the corner and then scramble to get things done. No, instead they work hard because they know they have to. We, as Christians, should work hard and work hard whether we are watched or not. Why? First, we have 1 Corinthians 10:31 that tells us to do everything for God’s glory and being lazy does not bring Him glory. Second we have Ephesians 6:5-9. While this is the master/servant relationship, this can also translate to an employer/employee relationship. Christians are to be the finest workers a place has. Quietly working with our hands doing what we are to be doing and being thankful for what God gives us – 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

I will say that a boss/manager should read about how they are to handle those under them, especially a text like 1 Timothy 5:18, and Deuteronomy 24:15. When we get to passages dealing with bosses, we will look at that and we will compare the Biblical model to what is seen in our nation today (and no, it is not good either).

But no matter who you are, look at the ant. There is a lesson for each one of us here. We are called to work hard, faithfully, and completely. Not being a problem, or causing problems. Being paid a fair wage for a fair day of work. Living and working as to God, honoring Him for all He does.

Go to the ant! Stop being a sluggard. And work. We will continue this, Lord willing, next week with even more instruction from Solomon.