Discipline and diligence are two prominent themes in the book of Proverbs. They show up over and over again. Chapter six is classic in verse 6. It says, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!”

According to John Silling, a Purdue University entomologist, the ant is an exemplary worker. “Basically the ant’s entire life, which can range up to seven years, is spent working,” says Silling. “They gather food, bring it back to the nest, and use it for day-to-day meals as well as to store for the winter.” In addition, the amazing insects can be adept horticulturalists, states the professor. Some species “gather bits of grass or leaves and take them back to their nest. On this organic matter, which is used much like fertilizer, they place tiny mushroom spores and grow them for food.” But ants as dairy-keepers? That’s right. “Some ants get the majority of their food by ‘milking’ aphids or plant lice which are often known as ‘ant cows,’ says the scientist. “The ants sometimes herd the aphids down into the ant nests at night or when it starts to get cool; then when it gets warm again, they herd them back up to the plants.”

An old English proverb that you’ve all heard is that “idleness is the Devil’s workshop.” Notice that the exhortation to watch the ant in Proverbs six is sandwiched between exhortations against sexual promiscuity. Just as David’s leisurely walk along the roof of his palace opened the door to adultery with Bathsheba, so too is it the case with us all. Many a man has fallen prey to Satan’s devices while leisurely browsing the internet. When we become actively engaged in doing what we’re supposed to do, we are much less likely to fall into temptation to do what we’re not supposed to do.

“Go watch the ants, you lazy person. Watch what they do and be wise.” Proverbs 6:6