June 14, 2018

Are You a Self-Starter?

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 14, 2018

By Tripp Prince

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV)

The image of the industrious ant is one of my earliest memories from the Bible. Though simple in its construction, this story immediately grabs the attention of the reader and invites honest self-reflection. “Go to the ant,” we are told. And in considering its way of life, we learn something of what God intends for our own life with him and with others.

With all of our human achievement and advancement, it is easy for us to think we have little to learn from others, especially a creature as small and insignificant as an ant. And yet, I wonder if there are life lessons everywhere we look, if we simply are able to slow down long enough to see them? A humble heart says there is always more to be learned, that we have never reached an end to our quest for wisdom. And when we cultivate this way of life, this posture of presence, we gain wisdom and insight from even the most unlikely of places.

When reading Proverbs 6, I always understood the story as an encouragement to be a hard worker, and of course this is true. Especially for people who struggle with laziness, the “sluggards” in our midst, this proverb is a helpful corrective and reminder that we too must be people who give ourselves fully to the work we are called to do. Yet recently, in reading this Proverb I was struck by the ant’s ability to be a self-starter.

One sure sign of wisdom and maturity is our ability to do what we know to be wise and good and true, even if no one is asking or demanding it from us. Yet so often, we know in our heads what we believe to be true, or have a picture of the kind of leader, parent, friend, or employee that we aspire to be, and yet this mental image never translates into a lived experience!  

As a simple creature, the ant’s primary aim in life is survival, storing enough food to live. It is clear in its objective and gives itself fully to this goal, without anyone having to remind it or prod it along in that direction. As far more complex creatures, often our aims and goals are harder to clarify. Perhaps your struggle to be a self-starter is linked to a failure of vision? Do you know where you want to go and what goal you seek to achieve? Seek clarity on the end goal, and you will be able to give yourself more fully to its pursuit. The more compelling the goal, the more resolved you and I will be to stay the course and walk the long, faithful path of wisdom.

 

Prayer

Father, give us the strength and courage to do the things we know to be right and true, even when no one is watching. Amen.

Application

What goal needs clarification in your heart and mind so that you can give yourself more fully to it?

Related Reading

1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:12; 1 Timothy 6:19

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