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A Sermon on Six Legs - Part A

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December 2, 2022 5:00 am

A Sermon on Six Legs - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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December 2, 2022 5:00 am

Skip continues the series Hustle and Grind. Most people think of ants as a nuisance to be eliminated, but King Solomon saw them as teachers to be emulated. In the message "A Sermon on Six Legs," Skip compares the industrious ant and the inactive sluggard. 

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Skip Heitzig

Laziness is a real issue. And largely, it is an overlooked issue. In fact, I would venture to say that laziness or slothfulness would rank right around the top of the most underrated sins.

Nobody really thinks much about that as being problematic. The need for instant gratification is spreading like wildfire in our culture, and laziness has become more prevalent than ever before. As we come to the end of the year at Connect with Skip, we have new plans for expansion that we want you to know about. In 2023, we hope to take these through the Bible teachings to more of the large population cities in our country. When God deals with a nation, he often focuses on the cities, and we know our nation needs the Word of God.

We'll tell you how you can join this project. But first, this from Skip. I want my legacy to be I made much of Jesus, that Jesus became greater in people's hearts and lives because of my life and ministry, that they walked away understanding the Bible, that what seemed to be complicated was actually very simple, that I helped make it simple for them and understandable. When you help us expand into more metropolitan areas in 2023 with a year-end gift of $1,000 or more, we'll send you the Skip Heitzig Legacy Library, so far, containing 11 books, 17 booklets, and the Bible from 30,000 feet. Pastor Skip's incomparable teaching series of 64 full messages through the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, on a flash drive that also includes Learning from the Land, Skip's video tour of Israel. G. Campbell Morgan was called in his biography, a man of the Word, or the man of the Word. That's what I want to be, a man of the Word. The Skip Heitzig Legacy Library, so far, is a real treasure, and it's yours when you make a year-end gift of $1,000 or more, and you will be helping us expand the reach of these teachings.

Give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer, or call 800-922-1888. Now, we're in Proverbs chapter 6, as we join Skip Heitzig for today's program. So there was a little boy who was so lazy that he couldn't wake up early in the morning, and his mom was trying to fix that. So one day, Mom sat on the edge of his bed and said, Son, and you know, he kind of opened his eyes barely. She said, I'm going to tell you a story, and I want you to tell me what you learned.

And so he said, okay. And so she said there were two birds, and one bird got up really early every morning. And the little bird that got up early every morning found plenty of bugs to eat, and with those bugs, this early bird was able to feed herself and her family. But the other bird would never get up in the morning, slept in every day, and when he finally got up, there was no food for him to eat. So she said, Son, what is the moral of the story? What have you learned?

Little boy said, well, the story tells me that bugs that wake up early get eaten by birds. This is a highly unmotivated young man. We're in a series we've called the Hustle and Grind. It's essentially a theology on work. And if you remember, we started with the concept that work is something that is honorable, that God Himself worked. He created the heavens and the earth in six days, and on the seventh day, He rested. First, He worked. First, He built. He exerted energy, we would say, from a human standpoint.

And then the first thing that He did, or one of the first things God did with the man and woman that He created, is put them to work in the garden to tend it. So we gave Him a job. But then we looked at the concept of working too much, how you can take something that is honorable and good and take it to an extreme. And we talked about the danger of overworking and being too committed to one's status in life and one's job. Then we looked at rest, the concept of the Sabbath day.

We did two whole weeks on the Sabbath. What it means to take a break, what it means to revitalize your body, rejuvenate your mind. And so we looked at rest. Today, I want to talk about the danger of overrest.

See, we're sort of following the gamut. We're looking at what is good, but something taken to an extreme, and then now rest, something that is good, but taken to an extreme. The danger of overrest, we would call this laziness. The old term for laziness is the word sloth, or slothfulness. You probably have never heard a sermon on sloth, unless you have come here for any length of time. You would have heard a sermon on sloth if you lived a century ago. You would have heard lots of sermons on it.

It was very common in churches for preachers from pulpits to address the concept of laziness or slothfulness. In fact, it was under a list that had been known for a long time as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins comes from medieval times from around 600 A.D. That's when it first showed up. It really originated from the Catholic Church. It was a list of what they called capital vices or cardinal sins. They were excessive versions of natural desires, and the list was as follows. Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

That list was first compiled by one of the Catholic popes, Pope Gregory I in 600 A.D. The Church taught that people who commit those sins could never be forgiven. Could never be forgiven. Of course, that is not true. You can be forgiven for any sin, the Bible says, except one, which is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. But every manner of sin, the Bible says, you can be forgiven for.

So that's not true. It is true, however, that laziness is a real issue. And largely, it is an overlooked issue. In fact, I would venture to say that laziness or slothfulness would rank right around the top of the most underrated sins.

Nobody really thinks much about that as being problematic. Well, the word that Solomon uses to describe a person who is lazy, you will see in our text in Proverbs chapter 6, is the word sluggard. Sluggard. That's the biblical term. It shows up 17 times in the book of Proverbs. Seventeen times, Solomon, the author, speaks about or to a sluggard. Solomon, the name sounds bad, you sluggard.

It means a loafer, an idler, a slug, a slouch, a couch potato, a lazy bones, a hater of work could go under many different monikers. I do think it is a message that is needed today. I don't know if you've read about it lately, but it's in virtually every news source the last several months. It's called the Great Resignation.

Have you heard about that? The Great Resignation. If you follow news cycles, you'll see it.

It'll pop up. The Great Resignation is simply this phenomena that people everywhere in this country are quitting their jobs. They're leaving the workforce. Now, there's a number of reasons for the Great Resignation. Everything from people who are scared of a virus to just not wanting to get out anymore because they're used to being locked up, to they don't want the 9 to 5 job they had.

They want to entrepreneur their own life and kind of call their own shots and do startup businesses. There's a number of reasons, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, in August alone, a single month, 4.3 million people quit their jobs, left the workforce. And there's even a movement, and it's called the Anti-Work Movement. The Anti-Work Movement.

It's a group of people in love with the idea of a work-free life. Anti-Work Movement. The slogan for the Anti-Work Movement is unemployment for all, not just the rich. Unemployment for all. Nobody should work.

Now, you might think, what, a couple of wingnuts are a part of this, maybe 20, 30, maybe 100. Over 1 million today are part of the Anti-Work Movement. I'm going to throw out my opinion. I'm a Bible teacher, but can I just speak to our culture, our American society for just a moment? I believe that we as a society made a grave mistake back in the 1960s. Back in the 1960s under the Johnson administration, the idea of a war on poverty came up. Maybe you've heard that term, the war on poverty. It sounds so noble.

It sounds so good. Who wouldn't be against poverty? We all should be. It's a biblical mandate to be helping those who are in need, those who are poor. But as an American culture, we came up with the war on poverty, which basically disincentivized people from working.

The idea is we're going to give you whatever you need, wherever you want, and you will eventually see this as your God-given right. You don't have to work for it, but you can still want whatever it is that people who work for it get. That was all a part of the war on poverty. It produced millions of people who would not work, but still wanted all the stuff that you get. Now again, this is my opinion, but I think the best thing governments can do with wealth is to give that wealth to people who generate more wealth. Actually, who create jobs.

I think the stupidest thing you can do is to give your money to governments who will dole it out to people who will not work. So I'm sorry, that's first Skip 101, but now back to the Bible. I'm calling this little message on Proverbs 6, a Sermon on Six Legs, because the star of the sermon itself is an ant. Solomon, the author of the book of Proverbs, takes us to the anthill to learn a lesson from the ants. Ants, what the American Pest Society, and yes there is one, says is the number one nuisance in America.

The number one nuisance. Now I can think of other nuisances far worse, I won't name them, but they say ants are. Now when I was a teenager, I made it a point to step on every ant I could find. When I was a young kid, I would take magnifying glass and burn ants in the yard. Today we spray them with raid when they come in our kitchen.

I've had a lot in my kitchen lately, and bedroom, they sort of follow me around the house. But today we're going to learn from them. They're going to become our teachers. So in Proverbs 6, verse 6, we begin, go to the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise, which having no captain, overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, oh sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep? So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler and your need like an armed man.

That's the text, and it's very simple. We're going to look at this in two slices. We're going to look at ants and then the sluggard. We're going to consider the ants' pattern that Solomon gives and then the sluggard's plight. Now, we begin by noting that Solomon gives a direct challenge to a lazy person in this text. And it's sort of humorous because in verse 6, he says, go to the ant, you sluggard, and we don't know exactly who he's writing to or if he has somebody in mind, but I'm going to give you just a thought. If you go back to verse 1, what does the first two words say?

My son. Now, we do know that Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs to his son. The first part of the whole book is front-loaded with, I'm writing to you my son. Listen, my son, listen to the words of your father.

Watch your mother and your father's example. And he writes repeatedly to his son. I don't know if he's writing to Rehoboam or he has another son in mind, but again in chapter 6, my son, if you become surety for your friend. So it could be that he had a messy son. He had a son who was a slob when he was young, who wouldn't clean up his room in the palace. And he got frustrated.

He says, you know what? There's plenty of ants in your room. Go watch them. Go look at them. Nobody has to tell them to clean their stuff up. They just do it on their own.

It could be that he had that in mind for his own son. We don't know. But we do know this. Ants are some of the most successful of all creatures. When I say successful, I mean of all of the insects, these creatures are survivalists. First of all, there are over 12,000 different species of ants. There are approximately 1 quadrillion ants on earth.

And I know that doesn't mean anything, but it's 10 with 15 zeros after it. That's how many ants there are in the world. To give you perspective, that's just a little over one million ants for every one single human being on earth right now. Again, for perspective, if you took every human on the planet and put them on one side of a giant balancing scale and every ant in the world on the other side of that balancing scale, the ants would weigh more than the humans.

They're very, very successful. They're everywhere. Ants have conquered the world. They're on virtually every continent except one, Antarctica. Ant-artica.

It's interesting, isn't it? You'd think they'd be there, but they're not. Ants are even in space.

You go, space? How'd they get there? Well, in 2014, eight groups of ants were sent to the International Space Station.

You'd think, why on earth would we export that? Well, they just wanted to see if they'd survive. I mean, they survive everywhere else.

Just about. Let's put them in space. Let's see if they survive. Let's study them and see how they adapt and change to different conditions. So there are ants in space. But as to our text, Solomon notes three things about these ants. They produce, they provide, and they prepare. They produce, they provide, and they prepare. First of all, they produce. Verse 6, go to the ant, you sluggard.

Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer, or ruler. Now, you've got to know this about ants. They're very organized, highly organized. They organize themselves into colonies called formicaries. And they're sort of like modern cities if you study them.

And those who do study them have found out that they organize their food and their shelter. In these colonies, there are streets and supply rooms and hatcheries and barracks. And these colonies can go from just a few ants to 20 million ants in one colony. 20 million.

That's like Tokyo plus. And in fact, there are some colonies called super colonies in certain continents that have over 300 million ants. There are colonies connected to other colonies and they are organized and they communicate. And in the ant world, it's all volunteer.

Everything's a volunteer army. There's no guide. There's no leader. There's no president. There's no governor.

There's no prime minister. But they all work. Nobody has to tell them to clean their room. Nobody has to tell them to take the trash out. They just do the work. They do the work.

In fact, there are even among some ants things called soldier ants that kill the ants that refuse to work. So they produce. And they divide up the workforce among the different types of ants. So queens have only one job. Lay eggs.

That's their job. And they are protected their whole life because they lay the eggs. All the other female ants are the worker ants. They're the ones that feed the larvae. They take out the colony's trash. They forage for food.

They defend the nest. The male ants' only job is to mate with the queen. Okay, it's a thankless job, but somebody's got to do it, I guess.

I know some guys who think that's their only job in life. But the ants work continually. They keep, get this, they keep regular shifts. Regular shifts for working, for eating, and for sleeping. And they're sort of regimented in keeping those shifts every day.

If you destroy an anthill, like you walk up to it and you say, I'm just going to mess that up and you kick it around, the ants immediately start to rebuild it. They're persistent and they work continually. And they do it all without pay. They do it without any promotion. They do it without any word of thanks.

No pat on the back. Not that they have a back that you could pat. But they don't quit. They don't get mad. They don't go to the HR department and file a complaint. They don't go on strike. They work. Which is exactly how we are to work and serve the Lord as believers.

Did you know that? Ephesians chapter 6, verse 6 and 7. Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.

Work with enthusiasm as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. So that's the first thing about ants. They produce. Hard workers. The second thing that Solomon makes a note of, not only do they produce, but they provide.

At least that's the word he uses in verse 8. It says, provides her supplies in the summer. Provides her supplies in the summer.

Ants work hard to provide for themselves and for others in the colony. You can experiment to find out if this is true or not. Just leave something on the counter tonight. Just leave a little bit of sugar, a candy, a little bit of food.

Just leave it out on the counter. And what's going to happen is an ant is going to come cruising along, check it out, and then she's going to go back and tell all of her friends that there's free shopping on your counter. They'll all be back in a nice little line. They'll all come back because they provide and they provide for each other. Something interesting about the ant world.

I didn't know this until just this week. Ants are farmers. They're ranchers. They actually, besides humans, are the only creatures that will farm other creatures. Just like we raise cows and we raise chickens or pigs or fish or whatever it might be for a food source, so do ants, and they do this principally with aphids.

That's the most common creature they farm. So what they will do, ants will protect aphids from natural predators. They'll do their best to protect the aphids. They'll shelter them in their nests from heavy rainfall because the ants want the constant supply of the secretions that come from the aphids. It's sweet, and apparently they love it, so they'll just farm these little creatures to take advantage of it. So they're ranchers.

They're farmers. Then there's a particular kind of an ant called the honeypot ant. And the honeypot ant is a special worker ant that gorges herself full of nectar so that her abdomen swells enormously, several times her own size. And then she takes that and she feeds herself and the rest of the nest.

So she is a blessing to everyone in the nest. Which, again, is what the Bible says we are to do. We are to work so that we might bless others. Ephesians chapter 4, verse 28. He says, thieves should no longer steal, but rather let him labor doing honest work with his own hands so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. It's like the honeypot ant. And again in Hebrews 13, verse 16, do not neglect to do good and share what you have.

So ants produce, and ants provide. That's Skip Heitzig's message from his series Hustle and Grind. Now, here's Skip to share how you can help keep this broadcast going strong connecting you and others around the world with God's Word.

Well, we all know that life is filled with ups and downs. But God remains our steady constant. Our heart is to bring people closer to Him so they can have a relationship and enjoy the riches of His Word. Your gift today means we can keep sharing these teachings that you love for many more years to come.

Would you consider sharing a gift today and giving the gift of Scripture to so many others? Here's how you can do that. To give today, simply call 800-922-1888.

That number again is 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Your generosity helps keep this biblical encouragement coming your way and going out around the world to help change more lives. And did you know there's an exciting biblical resource available right at your fingertips through your mobile device? You can find several of Skip's Bible reading plans in the YouVersion Bible app. Simply download the app and search Skip Heitzig. Next week Skip Heitzig shares how you can live a fulfilling life by serving the Lord diligently. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-02 06:34:31 / 2022-12-02 06:44:02 / 10

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