6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
Foolishness expresses itself in many ways, seven of which are known as deadly sins. These are pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony and lust. All seven of these traits are expressions of self-centeredness, and each of them is self-destructive in its own way. The sluggard is the type of fool who is given to sloth. He has many opportunities to address his problems, but he continuously puts them off. Today’s problems, if not dealt with, will grow larger each day. Put them off long enough, and they will eventually get out of control.
The sluggard believes he lacks motivation, but what he really lacks is diligence. This virtue is embodied in the life of the ant. “It has no commander, no overseer or ruler.” You may be productive when you know someone is watching, but that does not mean you are diligent. The diligent person, like the ant, steadily sets his life in order. He identifies the things that can be taken care of directly, and does them whether he feels like it or not. He knows that just as problems accumulate, so does progress. He is not overwhelmed by big dreams because he knows that greatness is achieved step by step.
“Yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” The ant takes advantage of the seasons, knowing that today’s advantages may be gone tomorrow. The slothful look for excuses, but the diligent look for opportunity. Is there something you know you should do today? Go do it, regardless of how you feel. Your diligence will become habit, your effort will compound, and sooner or later you will reap the harvest of your discipline. If you’re diligent with the small things, you’ll be ready when your big opportunity arrives.