Ants are considered a nuisance and can be given the harsh treatment especially when their adventures pose a threat to our happiness. It might never have crossed your mind that you can possibly learn a lesson or two from ants. My knowledge of a particular Scriptural text (Proverbs 6:6-8) necessitated my quest to know a little more about ants. I will share a bit of what I discovered about ants and weave it in with three lessons that may be learnt from the work ethic of female worker ants.

About Ants

            Ants comprise of about 11,000 species and live in well organized societies commonly referred to as colonies. These colonies range in size from a few members to many millions of members. Members of an ant colony typically fall into categories generally known as castes, each with a different role. There are basically three categories of ants, namely, queens, males and female worker ants.

            The queens are responsible for mating to produce fertilized eggs which hatch to produce more ants. On the other hand, the class of ants commonly called males are noted for the discharge of a singularly role; they play no social role other than mating. They die shortly after mating.

            Female worker ants form majority of colony members and do not have wings. Female worker Ants perform much of the work within every given colony. This includes searching for food, nursing young ants and defending the colony against ants from other colonies. It may be reliably inferred that when the Bible (Proverbs 6:6-8) instructs humans to learn from the ant, it is in specific reference to the female worker ant. Now, what does Proverbs 6:6-8 say about all this? It states, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy bones. Learn from their ways and become wise. Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter” (Quote from the New International Version of the Bible). You will note that the text expressly states that the ant labors (works) and gathers food. These tasks are part of the main responsibilities of female worker ants, not the queens nor the males.

            It is worth-noting that as small and seemingly insignificant as the ant may be, humans are counseled to learn some valuable life lessons from them, namely self-discipline (Proverbs 6:7-8), hard work (Proverbs 6:8) and the need to guard against procrastination (Proverbs 6:8). Of cause, these values are implied and may be ascertained by a careful reading of the Scriptural text.

Avoid procrastination as much as practicable

            Female worker ants go gathering and storing food during specific seasons; seasons that are most appropriate for them to discharge this responsibility. They attend to their task as and when the season is due rather than talking themselves out of work when work ought to be done. Procrastination has been known to be a major challenge for many. Many have the tendency to procrastinate until they realize that they have to race with time in order to complete certain time bound tasks such as meeting projects deadlines.

             Christopher Parker once noted: “Procrastination is like the credit card. It`s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” The English Poet, Edward Young is said to have made this famous statement: “Procrastination is the thief of time.” The venerated Benjamin Franklin gives an apt advice: “Never leave that till tomorrow that which you can do today.” 

Hard work pays

            One of the remarkable traits of female worker ants is hard work. They can easily be spotted gathering food particles and other tiny edibles. On occasion, they may be sighted diligently working as a team to carry huge loads of food particles and the like. By their hard work, they are able to store food for the present and for future use. 

            The value of hard work cannot be over emphasized. Laziness is detrimental to your progress in life and career. “There is no substitute for hard work”, quipped the notable prolific inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Adison. Ebenezer Acheampong, a Ghanaian motivational speaker states: “it is the diligent hand and head alone that makes success. Every student should read a lot, think a lot and work a lot.” Proverbs 10:4 perceptively notes that “all lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich”.

Self-discipline is vital

            In spite of the fact that ants do not have rulers as it were to order them around, they intuitive and habitually perform their functions as and when they are due. The female worker ant, saddled with the arduous task of prospecting for food, gathering them and storing them for the common good goes about its duties diligently and whenever the season is due. They ‘make hay while the sun shines.’ They are essentially self-disciplined.

            Self-discipline is a non-negotiable prerequisite for chalking feats of monumental proportions. Self-discipline connotes the ability to do what is necessary or sensible without needing to be coerced or urged by another. It was the famed author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar who once noted, “Real freedom comes only when discipline becomes a way of life”. All things being equal, any human who is self-disciplined will go places.

There is no telling what you will achieve in every sphere of life if only you will take to heart these valuable life lessons from the work ethic of female worker ants and make them a part and parcel of your personal work ethic. 

Written by Daniel Dela Dunoo

(Writer, blogger, professional marketer)


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