Lessons from the Ant: The Work of the Season

by Nicole Hanson on September 08, 2021

I planted my vegetable garden at the new apartment an entire month before we moved in. I could have waited until the middle of July to give the new vegetables their home, but I doubted the growing season would let my brussels sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes, and jalapenos reach their full potential. 

My landlord was the one who suggested I plant early. Why? Because the choices were "plant early" or "don’t plant at all." You can’t plant mid-summer and expect a harvest, and you don’t harvest your jalapenos in spring. 

The work of the season matters. 

You plant in spring, you harvest in fall. If you don’t, there’s no garden. 

Proverbs makes the same point, holding up the ant as the hero:

“Go to the ant you sluggard; c

onsider its ways and be wise! 

It has no commander, n

o overseer or ruler, y

et it stores its provisions in summer a

nd 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 -- a

nd poverty will come on you like a thief a

nd scarcity like an armed man.” 

Proverbs 6:6-11

Quality of Work

The ant knows when to store and when to harvest, so it does; even though no one is watching over its shoulder. 

For many of us, that kind of work takes much more self control. So, helping us put things in perspective, Scripture admonishes us to work at everything as if we’re doing it for Jesus (Colossians 3:23).

That’s a whole new quality of work! It...

  • Affects our attitudes

  • Transforms work into an opportunity to worship

  • Redeems interpersonal relationships

  • Raises the quality of what we do

  • Shifts our motivation

Would you make different work choices if Jesus was your manager or CEO? Ultimately, we are accountable to Him about every choice, including the choices at work. 

God’s Plan for Work

The sluggard rests when it’s time to work, but the ant, our model, works at the right seasons.

And yet, when read within the context of the rest of Scripture, this Proverb is not suggesting we work nonstop. The problem with the sluggard isn’t that he rests, it’s that he doesn’t stop resting. 

God actually put things in place to keep that from happening! Sometimes, the work of the season is... to rest. God calls it Sabbath. 

Three of the purposes of the Sabbath, as I understand it, are to rest, spend time with God, and trust God. 

  1. We rest from work, celebrating what we accomplished.
  2. We spend time with God, remembering that knowing Him is the goal of our life, not "getting ahead."
  3. We trust God to provide for us, and even trust that his plan -- this day of rest -- is what’s best for us.

Rest when it’s time to rest; work when it’s time to work. 

And do it all for the glory of God. 

What does it look like for you to glorify God through your work? What does it look like for you to glorify God through your rest? Which is harder?

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