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).
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), 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).
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.
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; 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) even in times of famine (Psalm:33:18-19).
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.