A second life-ruin is poverty, and to stay away from that you must avoid bad work habits (6–11). When applied to work, wisdom and the fear of the Lord involves hard work, not laziness and sloth. You should learn how to work from the ants (6–8). The “sluggard” is one who’s in the habit of being lazy, a couch-potato, a loafer, a do-nothing. If this describes you, “go…consider…be wise” (6). Ants work hard (7–8)—they never sit around doing nothing. No one needs to get them going. They do their work when and how they’re supposed to, so their needs are met. You must not only learn this positive example, you must stay away from its opposite: look out for laziness (9–11). Sluggards love to lounge around (9–10), avoid as much work as possible to enjoy a longer nap. This is living for rest and relaxation. Rest is substituted for work and made one’s occupation, career, and calling. The more you give in to and feed sloth, the more habitual it becomes. Eventually, however, sluggards will starve (11). Laziness brings poverty, but sadly sluggards learn this lesson too late. Poverty rarely happens in an instant; usually it is the result of a pile of “just a little.” The point of v. 11 isn’t the suddenness of poverty but the position you put yourself in because of your laziness. Be wise and avoid poverty by working hard and watching out for laziness!
1. Are ants made in the image of God? Who is? How is learning from ants how to work an embarrassing rebuke? Why do we need to learn this?
2. Who does the sluggard live for? How does that match up with living in the fear of the Lord? What do you live for?
3. What drives and controls the sluggard’s life decisions? How does that match up with biblical wisdom? What controls your life decisions?
4. This doesn’t mean rest is bad. When it comes to “R&R,” what’s the difference between the proper time and the present time?
5. Think about your work habits—do they show the fear of the Lord and biblical wisdom?