Read: Matthew 25:1-13
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. (Prov. 6:6)
One of the themes Proverbs returns to again and again is the importance of hard work. Solomon clearly had a fear of sloth. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” That’s a saying he repeated verbatim, as though one warning about the dangers of taking it easy wasn’t enough (see Prov. 6:10-11 and 24:33-34).
Proverbs also has a thing for nature in general, and ants in particular: “the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer” (Prov. 30:25). I don’t know if you pay much attention to ants—except for trying to rid your house of them—but the thing is, you never see an ant standing still. They’re always going someplace, often carrying a bit of food back to the nest. The opposite of the ant is the sluggard, the lazy person who procrastinates getting ready or puts off the work until it’s too late.
So what do ants have to do with the parable of the wise and foolish maidens? Well, the point of Jesus’ story is the importance of always being ready for his appearing, whether at the end of time or of your life. Only a fool (or a sluggard) would think that there will always be time to repent and believe when the moment arrives. As the spiritual says, “Keep your lamps trimmed and burning.” —David Bast
As you pray, reflect on what it means to keep watch.
About the Author
Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.