Go to the Ant, O Sluggard: A Meditation on Proverbs 6:6–19

In high school, slacking off on one assignment will not greatly influence your grade. So, what is the point in working too hard on it? If you do badly on a test because you did not study, you can always make up for it on the final exam. There is no point in trying too hard and over-exerting yourself; you have other things you would rather do, anyway. If the teacher is talking, it doesn’t really matter; your desk is in the back of the room and he can’t hear you. Besides, you have the best story to tell your friends.

We have no problem sleeping in until late in the morning (or even into the afternoon) because we have nothing pressing to do. Sometimes we show up late to class, if we show up at all. We find all kinds of ways to avoid all kinds of things we really don’t want to do.

At present, our sloth will not directly result in poverty as it does for the person in Proverbs 8:11. We still live with our parents, so everything we depend upon is placed in front of us. Even though we may grumble about having to buy our own clothes, we know that we already have much more than we need. Our parents still ensure that we are daily provided with ample food and a warm bed. Even our education is still paid for by our parents. Returning the favor by helping out around the house would be boring and would in no way entertain us.

For those of us who work, it’s mostly a routine job, somewhere that we only go through the motions in order to attain money for our own personal spending or saving for university. It’s not a career, and certainly not something we plan on doing for the rest of our lives and, therefore, not really worth overexerting ourselves. It is simply a means to an end.

Our society promotes a “me, me, me” priority chain. If there is nothing in it for us, there is no point in engaging in the activity. One of the top songs of last year was a song about someone who felt lazy and decided to stay at home all day, watching TV and lazing about. No harm done. Is this really the type of thought that we should be promoting and the lifestyle we should be following?

While this carefree lifestyle is extremely inviting and enjoyable, we are reaching the point in our lives where we must begin to take responsibility for our actions. Before we know it we will be in university or living on our own. Soon we will be responsible for our own income and survival. We will no longer be able to leach off our parents for our daily comforts.

Before we reach this stage we must learn responsibility for the little that we already have. As the parable of the shrewd manager says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10). We must make every effort to do well with what we are in charge of now, even if that only means finishing your homework and listening in class, or helping to prepare supper, so that we can learn a sense of responsibility that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

We must work at everything that we do with all that we have. Colossians 3:23 encourages us to work at everything, not for ourselves, nor for men, but for God. It is God who gave us the ability to work, relax, and even live. It is only right that we should thank Him for our existence by making the most of the gift of life that He has given us. God created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7), and by working hard in all that we do, we are fulfilling our purpose in life.

By giving everything our all, not only do we glorify God, but we can display our faith to the rest of the world. Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Even simple things, like our attitudes as we help people, can have lasting impacts on the people we meet. It takes little effort from us but can cause reflection for others, and at the very least, can make their day a little better.

Miss Taylor Brandsma is a senior at Immanuel Christian High School. She attends Trinity Reformed Church (URCNA) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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