Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sloths and Ants

Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, Proverbs 6:6

The slothful sloth is a strange animal that can only really survive in the tropical forests. The sloth has a face that only a mother sloth could love, and it is doubtful if even a slothful mother sloth could look with love on the rest of him. Sloths have short, flat heads; big eyes; a short snout; long legs; and tiny ears. The sloth's fur is coarse and shaggy and its hair grows toward its head because it hangs around sleeping so much. The fur is also the home of algae. So the sloth not only looks like the surrounding vegetation - he is part vegetation himself. Though it can move easily in the trees - upside down, and downside up - he cannot progress on the ground. The sloth is not a good example for a anyone who wants to accomplish something.

This description may remind you of someone around your house.  At some point in time, most teenagers resemble these creatures.  We struggle to find ways to motivate them to get up, bathe, stop eating junk food and get a job.  For the most part we succeed.  But, sadly, there are some who never rise to meet the challenges of life.  Their existence is limited to a wrinkled bed and eyes bulging from too much television or video games.  Attempts to move them are met with illogical rationalizations spoken with disdain and disrespect.  So, does scripture say anything about this? 

Loafers say, "It's dangerous out there! Tigers are prowling the streets!" and then pull the covers back over their heads. Just as a door turns on its hinges, so a lazybones turns back over in bed. A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie, but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth. Dreamers fantasize their self-importance; they think they are smarter than a whole college faculty. Proverbs 26:13-16 MSG

Wow!  So I’m not the first one to have to deal with this!  The writer of Proverbs must have had such a person in his house.  His advice?  Tell them about the ant.

You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy--do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest! Proverbs 6:6-11  MSG

The industrious ant lives in a hole in the ground. The ant is a busy insect, and he accomplishes much. He is a hardworking creature, and he is willing to co-operate as part of a team. He works when the working is good, and he saves his product for hard times. He is fast; he is strong; he is smart. Above all the little fellow is noted for his industriousness.

Those who know my strange way of thinking will understand my next advice...Maybe we should put ants in the bed of the sloth and see if it motivates them to rise.  Start an ant farm in the chair they lounge in all day!  

It really is a serious dilemma for those who are dealing with someone who just can’t get going.  It’s sad to see a life wasted by slothfulness.  If you don’t think it is serious, consider that it is listed among the Seven Deadly Sins most likely to threaten individuals. Slothfulness is an open door to all kinds of sin.  Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle.  As harmless as it may seem, laziness can be the fertile ground for all kinds of trouble.

So, we should all beware the temptation to let idleness fill our lives and be diligent in encouraging our children to learn the value of personal responsibility and industry in life.  It truly is a valuable lesson.

Scripture to Claim:
In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23 

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