4/30/13 - PTC_Proverbs 6 - "Ant-Work"
Instruction on Proverbs PTs:
I am excited to jump into the Priority Time Challenge with Chris for the next eight weeks. This would be a great opportunity to start the Priority Time Challenge; all the details are here. I'll be taking us through the book of Proverbs. I LOVE the Proverbs and have made reading Proverbs a regular part of my daily "diet" of God's word for nearly 15 years.
Here's how we will go about it. Take the time to READ the entire chapter for the day straight through. Don't read too fast, the Proverbs are like miniature sermons. One or two sentences really pack a punch. So, read slowly and look for the one or two verses that really stand out to you today. You might select a passage that addresses a challenge you are facing, a need in your life or a growth area. I will share the passage that stands out to me each day and take you through the steps of a Priority Time. I will not post the entire chapter, just the passage that stands out to me. I encourage you to write in your journal, verbatim the passage that stands out to you each day as you log your progress through the steps of a Priority Time.
A Priority Time is a daily unhurried time to read the Word of God to know the God of the Word. Each day we will read a passage of scripture and highpoint a few verses for the purpose of Focused Thinking, Personal Application, Interactive Prayer, and Life Journaling.
- Focused Thinking: Ask the journalistic questions (5 W's and How).
- Personal Application: It turns information into transformation.
- Interactive Prayer: It is personal, private, and precise.
- Life Journaling: It is the process of recording thoughts, evaluating my experiences, and capturing my memories.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
Who? The ant and the sluggard. Sluggard is such a harsh term! I think there is a part of each of us that is like the sluggard. God's wisdom calls us to be like the ant. We all know how ants work - constant work to store up food and take care of their colony. What a great picture of the Christian life. We are to work - not only for our own good but the good of our families and the Body of Christ. This is in contrast to the lazy sluggard who just sleeps and sleeps. He lies around and won't get work done.
What? Preparation. Work. Effort. Laziness has to be one of the most dangerous character flaws. God rebuke the laziness in me! God has established life to function by the effort we put forth. We must work. All people - not just those with career jobs. Work is valuable in every arena of life. Truthfully we ought to call our jobs careers and allow the term "work" to be applied to all things. Work is not something i do 8-10 hours a day. Work is the most common path to God's favor.
Certainly God gives His favor to us all as an act of grace. Some of His favor comes without us lifting a finger. That is simply the goodness of God! This is true not only for believers but unbelievers - God is good to all. At the same time God has created the world in such a way that some of His favor flows as the result of our work or effort. This is why it is wise to consider the ant. Diligent work matters.
When? For the sluggard the laziness that haunts him is constant. I feel that pull at various times as well. I often feel distracted by email when I should be studying. I have to normalize that my lazy streak will ALWAYS find a way to sabotage the good work i need to be doing. Think about this. How often do I come up with excuses not to work hard?
I hear it all too often with husbands who say that when they get home at night they have little energy left for their family. That's an excuse! God forbid men from this lame excuse! I battle a similarly excuse that, "I have so much going on." This is also LAME. Whatever valuable work is in front of me, I can produce this excuse and relive myself from the feeling of responsibility to get something done. What about having a priority time? How often do I hear people say, how often have I said, "I don't have time today."? I don't have time not to spend with God. I need His wisdom. That diligence has a payoff in my life. It's never "wasted time." God forgive my excuses. Most of my excuses (and probably everyone else's) need to drown in the diligence of "Ant-work."
Why? The other part of this passage that is easy to miss is v11) "poverty will come on you like a thief." Without warning poverty or another way of saying it, the lack of results, will come unannounced. This is why we are diligent. This is why we do "ant-work" - we don't want poverty. When it does we cannot go back and reclaim that lost time and opportunities. Sure, God can do anything. However, we have to accept the reality of consequences in life. God does not promise to give our wasted time back or wasted opportunities back. I do believe God ALWAYS provides a new opportunity to work and experience His favor through work.
How? I love the simplicity of the Proverbs. How do we do "ant-work?" We get up from our sleep. We don't lie around. We don't fold our hands. We get after it! We accept work as a gift not a curse.
Conviction time. I have put off writing my marriage book with LAME, sluggard-style excuses. God forgive me. No more. Today I will start writing again. No excuses. This is "ant-work." I must put a leash on my email and social media. I cannot allow the rest of the world to dictate what i do today. I need to put in real work toward what I believe to be God's calling and will for my life. I know that when my book is complete and published I will glad. I will feel like the ant in the wintertime.
God, this is so conviction to me. Thank you for calling me to work. Thank you that you don't just dump all Your blessings on us. Some of Your blessing is attached to work. This honors me. This says that through my mind and body You wish to produce good and God-honoring things. I'm sorry for demeaning Your investment in me with weak stewardship.
Lord, I feel the weight of my work as it relates to my family. I want to provide for them. I want to give them opportunities that are special. My work is what produces those opportunities. I want to see marriages and families changed. I don't want to deal with another divorce in our church. God, please produce your favor for marriages and families through my work.
I need to get serious about writing again. Tuesday and Thursday mornings are going to be set aside for writing. NO email. NO social media. NO meetings when I can help it. I need to leave the house by 6am and get to the office by 6:30. Priority Time from 6:30-7:30 and writing from 7:30-11:30. This is my "ant-work."
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