An Economic Lesson from the Ant

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An Economic Lesson from the Ant

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Kurt Andersen, author and the host of the public-radio program Studio 360, in his recent article "The End of Excess: Why This Crisis Is Good for America" (Time, April 6, 2009) commented:

"You know the story of the ant and the grasshopper? The ant is disciplined, the grasshopper parties as if the good times will last forever—and then winter descends...It's time to ratchet back our wild and crazy grasshopper side and get in touch with our inner ant...."

The economic connection

Anderson's key point is that the current economic crisis affords us an opportunity to learn a vital lesson from the industrious nature of the ant, which is also the main point of the following scriptural passage in Proverbs.

"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, O 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" (Proverbs 6:6-11 Proverbs 6:6-11 [6] Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: [7] Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, [8] Provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. [9] How long will you sleep, O sluggard? when will you arise out of your sleep? [10] Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: [11] So shall your poverty come as one that travels, and your want as an armed man.
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Plan more, party less

We all have probably viewed ants in action—carrying, building, cleaning and working to prepare for the welfare of the colony. In my yard is an ant hill that I run over with my riding mower every time I cut the grass. But the ants never give up. They keep on rebuilding. Talk about perseverance! But that's another lesson.

Back to the main point of preparing ahead!

Ants were programmed this way by the Creator. They don't have the visionary and planning capacity that God gave mankind. God expects us to use our unique ability for thinking and making decisions to plan our lives in accordance with the knowledge He gives us in the Scriptures.

But we can also learn things about God from His creation (Romans 1:19-20 Romans 1:19-20 [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
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), even from the advance preparation of tiny ants.

Joseph's 7 year preparation plan

The biblical patriarch Joseph's national plan for Egypt is a prime example of advance planning based on revealed truth. God revealed to Joseph that the nation of Egypt would experience seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine.

So Joseph counseled Pharaoh, "Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine" (Genesis 41:34-36 Genesis 41:34-36 [34] Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. [35] And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. [36] And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.
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Saving for the proverbial "rainy day" is a sound financial principle that has been sadly neglected in recent times. Thankfully, many have realized their mistake and have begun to trim their expenses in order to put more money into savings.

Unfortunately, some have gone from one extreme to another—from overspending to under-spending. Consumer spending in moderation is a necessary component of economic health.

Hopefully, this will balance out and the economy will recover.

Spiritual preparation

However, the current economic woes could continue to worsen to the point of international disaster. The Bible foretells a period of prosperity at the time of the end, but at the cost of economic freedom.

A great economic, political and religious system that the Bible calls "the beast" is prophesied to exercise control over its constituents worldwide, forcing them to receive not only "the mark of the beast" but to also worship the beast in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:11-17 Revelation 13:11-17 [11] And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. [12] And he excercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. [13] And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, [14] And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. [15] And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. [16] And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
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; 18:3).

Our spiritual freedom will then be greatly restricted!

Time will tell how and when this will transpire. But regardless of the time element, the most important advance preparation we can make is spiritual.

God promises that if we seek His kingdom and righteousness as our top priority, He will provide our material needs (Matthew 6:19-33 Matthew 6:19-33 [19] Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: [20] But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: [21] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. [22] The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light. [23] But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness! [24] No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. [25] Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? [26] Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? [27] Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? [28] And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: [29] And yet I say to you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [30] Why, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? [31] Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. [33] But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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) even in times of famine (Psalms 33:18-19 Psalms 33:18-19 [18] Behold, the eye of the LORD is on them that fear him, on them that hope in his mercy; [19] To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
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For a clear explanation of the times that are coming and relevant advice on how to prepare for them, I encourage you to request, download or read online our free booklets: Managing Your Finances and The Book of Revelation Unveiled.