The Bible is not encouraging you to be Superman or Wonder Woman. Just to be a diligent man and a diligent woman. That's it. Just be diligent. Just work, serve, enthusiastically. Romans chapter 12, he says, not lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Fervent in spirit means enthusiastic in spirit.
Living a life of laziness may sound like a life of ease, but nothing could be further from the truth. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares how you can live a fulfilling life by working hard and serving the Lord diligently. Before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that gives you access to Skip's volume of works to help you connect with God's Word even more profoundly. Skip often has the privilege of hosting guest speakers. Guests like Franklin Graham and Lee Strobel, who've become great friends to Pastor Skip Heitzig in this Bible teaching ministry.
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Get your copy of Skip and Friends when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, we're in Proverbs 6 as we join Skip Hyten for today's program. 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. 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 honey pot ant. And the honey pot 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. Just like the honey pot 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. Third thing that ants do is they prepare.
Go back to verse 8. provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest. Did you know that ants prepare for the winter? They actually store up food and make preparations for even long winters. Other insects don't necessarily do this.
For example, grasshoppers don't prepare for the winter. You know what grasshoppers do in the winter? They die.
That's what they do. It's like, okay, it's winter time. Time to die. The adults will lay their eggs in the late summer and having no preparations made for the winter, their job is done. They die.
Life is over for them. But not the ant. The ant will seek out warmer places. The ant will go down under the ground, will go down under rocks or under bark, and then they will gather together. They will cluster together more tightly in the winter to give off body heat to each other.
You don't think of an ant having much body heat, but apparently it works. And then they also will cluster more tightly around the queen during the winter time to protect her. Now I know that they do this. I know that they plan for the winter because they show up in my kitchen in the winter. I've had them recently show up.
Just say, hi, just want you to know we're still around. And so they're prepared. A few other things to show you how prepared they are.
When they go out hunting for food, when they go foraging, they leave behind them a little invisible marking of pheromones, pheromone trails, so that they can follow it back or that others in the colony can follow along that trail to the food source. So the communication chain, the communication line is unbroken. That's being prepared. Then when they are marching and they come to a river, if you're a little ant, you come to a big river, you might say, okay, this is impossible.
Not going to happen. We're just going to have to live the rest of our lives right here. But what they do is they, the whole colony will cluster together, roll itself into a giant ball and get on the river and float across the river to the other shore and continue their journey.
Amazing. They are prepared. The Bible talks about us being prepared. Proverbs says so much about foreseeing evil and staying away from it, thinking about things in advance and getting prepared for life, even saving up, but always, always in the will of the Lord. Proverbs 16 says commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts or your plans will be established. In the New Testament, James says you should never say I'm going to do this and that and go to this city and sell this and buy that. But we should always say if the Lord wills, I'm going to go to the city and do this and that. We plan, but we always plan under the caveat of what is the will of God. So they produce, they provide, and they prepare. Now, I just want to ask you this, Christian, are you prepared and are you preparing for your future by serving the Lord now?
How do you prepare for the future? By serving the Lord now. Jesus said lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth cannot destroy, where thieves cannot break in and steal. And he said that we are to work now while it is still day, for the night is coming when no one can work. So if you're going to do anything at all for Christ, do it now. Now is the time to do it. If you're going to share with people, if you're going to pray with people, if you're going to preach to people, if you're going to witness to people, if you're going to visit someone, if you're going to reconcile broken relationships, don't wait. Do it today.
Do it now. Prepare for the future by serving the Lord now. And then I want to ask those of you who are not in Christ, lost people, people who have not received Christ, why aren't you preparing for your future? The best thing for you to do is to be in Christ, to give your life to Christ, to invite Him to be your Savior.
You might scoff at that, you might neglect that, but I want you to know judgment will do neither. It's coming. He's coming. And all people will give a reckoning.
So make preparations no matter who you are. So that's the ants pattern. But now, beginning in verse 9, he pivots and he addresses directly the sluggard. We look at the sluggard's plight. For he says, how long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, and so your poverty will come on you like a prowler and your need like an armed man. So the sluggard is like the very opposite of the industrious little ant. You might say he's the antithesis of... You had to expect that at some point. And he is indeed the antithesis. He is the opposite.
The sluggard is, first of all, unmotivated. In verse 10, the question comes up, or the statement is made, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. Incidentally, this is how I sleep. My wife tells me that when I lay down in the room, I look like a corpse. She goes, you know, you look like a dead person. You sort of put your hands like this and lay on your back and you fall asleep. And I say, well, good, I'm ready. If I die, just drop me in. That's how I sleep. Now, if you read this in verse 10 and you think, what, so I'm supposed to feel bad if I lay down and fold my arms and take a little nap?
No, you're not. Leisure is not the same as laziness. Leisure is not laziness. Time to spare is a good thing. In fact, time to spare is what spares you.
It'll spare you an enormous amount of heartache and hardship in the future. We've already discussed for two weeks the need to take a break and to take a Shabbat, a Sabbath. The idea here is this, a lazy person, not a person who just takes a nap, a lazy person is by and large a person who will not focus on things and therefore he will not finish things. You see, when you ask the sluggard the question that Solomon asks, how long, how long are you going to sleep? How long are you going to sleep? How long are you going to sleep? How long are you going to sleep? How long are you going to take to finish that project? When are you going to get up and get to that thing? You're being far too definite for the sluggard in that question because he doesn't know.
How long? He can't commit. By the way, there is one type of ant that I discovered in my little antology study that I did this week. There's one little ant that does remind us of a lazy person. In the ant world, there's a particular ant known as the slave maker. In particular, the shining slave maker. And what the slave maker ant will do is steal the young or the pupae from another ant colony and bring that undeveloped creature back to its own colony. So when that little ant gets hatched or those ants get hatched in the colony, they think it's their own colonies and they go about serving their new masters if it is their own parents, their own colony. And what happens is the one who steals them, the slave maker, becomes accustomed to a life of ease because all he's done is stolen from somewhere else and brought them into the colony for them to do the work.
Typically, slave makers are very adept at fighting. But because they get lazy, they become accustomed to a life of ease, they degenerate in their capacity to the point that they can't even feed themselves any longer. And they've done experiments where they've taken these shining slave makers, put them in little containers, dropped food in for them, and they've starved to death. Given them food, but they starve to death.
But I guarantee you, you put one black ant in there, and that black ant will feed everybody in there. Now in chapter 26 of Proverbs, verse 14, listen to this very incredible description. As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed.
Very descriptive. It's like, the only motion he makes is to turn over on the other side. There's a lot of motion, but no progress. And it continues, the lazy man buries his hand in the bowl. It wearies him to bring it to his mouth. Now this is a lazy dude.
He puts a cereal spoon in there and he's like, you can't even lift it up. He has no motivation whatsoever. Basically, all these descriptions speak of the person who always has an excuse, always has a reason why it can't be done. See, sluggards are always and ever procrastinators. They have so many projects that are left undone, they never get to. Proverbs 22, verse 13, the slothful man says, there's a lion outside, I shall be slain in the streets.
So it's a picture of somebody who refuses to get out of their home, they're homebound, they're locked down, they're scared of the boogeyman, they won't go outside, there might be a lion outside, a monster is going to get me. And so they have an excuse. That's the sluggard's plight. They're unmotivated. Second thing he makes a note of is they're unproductive, very different from the ant who is very, very productive and prepared, they're unproductive. Verse 11, so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler and your need like an armed man. You maintain that state of inactivity for too long, one day it'll be too late.
It'll all come crashing down. The idea here is an unfulfilled and frustrated life, not just physical poverty, but it will leave that person emotionally restless, unsatisfied, and discouraged. Listen to some of the other verses in Proverbs that help fill out the meaning. Proverbs 21, verse 25, the desire of the lazy man kills him for his hands refuse to labor. They may want, but they don't get because they won't work. So all they have is want. All they have is desire.
And it's like this vicious cycle, I want this, I need this, but they never get it. So it's just completely unfulfilling. Proverbs 13, verse 4, the soul of a lazy man desires and has nothing. It is a very unfulfilling life to be driven by the desire of the lazy man.
It's one of the most unfulfilled ways to live, to be driven by the love of ease. And what's the solution? The solution is go to the ant. That's what he cautions and warns and instructs presumably his son or anybody who would read this to do. Go check out the natural world and see how productive they are, see how productive they are, and see how powerful they are. And see how productive they are, see how prepared they are, see how they provide. Go to the ant and be wise. Learn from them. The antidote to a lazy life is a good shot of diligence. Diligence is the opposite of laziness.
Diligence is the word that shows up six times in the book of Proverbs and a number of times in the Scripture. Ants have diligence. That's why they are prepared and they provide, et cetera. Something else about ants. Did you know that when ants wake up after their shift of sleeping, they actually stretch and yawn like we do. But then they get up.
And they get to work. And then they go back to sleep after they eat and they do this every day. And ants can lift between 20 times to 50 times their own weight. Maybe you've seen an ant carrying like an enormous object. How does an ant do that?
It's amazing. If you were to put this in human terms, it'd be like your second grader taking an 18-wheel semi-truck and just kind of throwing it around the house. Enormous amount of strength. And they can cover the ground quickly. They can run fast.
An ant covers the ground. If we could run as fast as an ant, we could run 35 miles an hour. Some of you would get a ticket running through some neighborhoods. Having said that, the Bible is not encouraging you to be superman or wonder woman. Just to be a diligent man and a diligent woman. Let's say, just be diligent. Just work, serve, enthusiastically. In Romans chapter 12, he says, not lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
Fervent in spirit means enthusiastic in spirit. And the only way you can be enthusiastic, I will grant you this, in some of your occupations, you go, you don't know my job. You couldn't drum up enthusiasm if you tried to. You could if you were doing it for the Lord. See, once you bring God into any situation, that situation changes. If I'm doing this to honor God, I can do it. Because now I'm not doing it to collect a paycheck. Now I'm not doing it to get a promotion. Now I'm not doing it to get on their insurance ledger. I'm doing it because I'm serving the Lord.
And because I'm serving the Lord, I can do it enthusiastically from my heart, because he's my boss. Now I want to close with what is my favorite ant story. And it's a story that I want to close with what is my favorite ant story. So there was a girl named Brenda. And Brenda was a fearful girl by nature. But she wanted to learn how to rock climb. So she knew that she couldn't just do it on her own. She joined a group of people who teach rock climbing.
And there was a small group going up. And so she learned the basics. And it was her first climb. And she's going up the side of a cliff. She's roped in, right?
She's in her in her harness. And they're belaying her up the side. And she gets up pretty high. And she gets up to a ledge.
And she rests and takes a breather. And just then the person on the lead rope, the lead climber up ahead up on top, accidentally snapped the rope against Brenda's eye. And out of her eye popped her contact lens. And she's on a ledge. And the contact lens goes down this cliff down into the valley.
So now you have a girl suspended 100 feet in the air. She's far from home. She's scared. And she has blurry vision.
Immediately she begins to pray. The verse that happens to come to her mind is the verse in the Old Testament where it says, the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth. And so she said, Lord, you know exactly where that lens is. You see all of this valley. You know every rock.
You know every leaf. And she prayed for her contact lens. Well, they got her up to the top, blurry vision and all, scared and all.
But they start making their way back down around to where they started. And there was another group of climbers that were coming up. And that group of climbers coming up, one of them shouted, hey, did any one of you lose a contact lens? If that wasn't weird enough, the guy went on to describe how he found the contact lens. He said, he saw an ant moving across the face of the rock carrying a contact lens. You say, well, that's a coincidence.
Maybe. I see it as providence. I see it as God carrying enough to build the faith of one little girl by having an ant carry her contact lens. And here's the moral of this story. If God can use an ant to carry a contact lens for one of his children, God wants to use you to carry the burden of one of his children. God wants you to carry the gospel to someone who isn't yet his child. God wants you to help carry the load of people around you.
Work while it is still day, for the night is coming when no man can work. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series Hustle and Grind. Now, here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this coming your way as you help connect others to God's truths. If you're in Christ, you're a new creation.
That doesn't mean life is easier necessarily, but it does mean that your life has meaning and purpose. And through your support today, you can help others find that same hope that Jesus offers. So please consider how you can take action now to help reach more people with the truth of God's word. Here's how you can give today. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.
800-922-1888. Thank you. Tomorrow, Skip Heitzig explains how you can wield your thoughts to overcome bad habits. That's what God is getting at when we are allowed to face situations that are highly tempting to us. God is taking us there because he wants that to be a point of transformation. He doesn't just want to deliver us from something. He wants to deliver us to something. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
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