Go 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. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11)
Ants are pests. I pay a pest controller to keep them from bothering me and my family. But I’m fascinated when I watch a nest of ants (off my property) do their amazing work.
Sluggards are headed for poverty for their lack of work. Meanwhile, building and maintaining an ant colony take a lot of demanding work. Both the sluggard and the ant have something to teach us about marriage.
Sluggards Aren’t Allowed: Ants don’t suffer long with sluggards. A good marriage doesn’t either. The work of loving, forgiving and submitting to one another takes constant attention and teamwork.
Ants Know When AND What to Do: No one must instruct the ant that it’s time to get up and harvest, store or defend the colony. In every marriage, various times bring diverse types of work. Ignoring the regular storing and harvesting of love and relationship strengthening will lead a couple to marriage scarcity. Just like the ant colony, when under attack, it’s time to drop everything and defend the marriage.
The Busy Marriage Sluggard: Can there be such a thing as a busy sluggard? I think so. I believe there are sleepy sluggards and busy sluggards. Busy marriage sluggards occupy themselves with the wrong (not necessarily bad) activities at the wrong time and for the wrong amount of time. Meanwhile, their marriage is left unfed, undefended, and destined for poverty.
Is it Time to Wake Up? Think about your marriage. Is it time to take a lesson from the ant? Just like the ant colony, every marriage needs a lot of attention and work. Sue and I are still working at it, nearly 35 years in. Some of the work is the same it’s always been—storing and harvesting. But there are times when it takes a different kind of work. Occasionally, we need to stop everything and defend against the attacks. I can tell you that every bit of that work is worth it, even when it doesn’t feel like it now.
The Rest of the Story: My pest controller, Michael, sent me this photo while treating our home last week to show how quickly ants take to the bait. No sluggards here: