Hard Financial Times? Be Like an Ant

A biblical principle for working through financial struggle.

Remember the old fable about the ant and the grasshopper? The ant works hard all year long to store up for winter, while the grasshopper plays and gathers nothing. When winter hits and the snows fall, the grasshopper begins to starve and must go to the ants in order to survive. Meanwhile, the ants are warm, safe, and secure--and they have plenty to help the grasshopper out in his need. In Proverbs 6:6, God tells us to go to the ant--not the grasshopper:

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise.
Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler,
She provides her supplies in the summer.
And gathers her food in the harvest.
--Proverbs 6:6

Reprinted from 'The Storehouse Principle' by Al Jandl and Van Crouch, CrossStaff Publishers, 2004. Rev. Jandl is founder of Living Stones Church in Alvin, Texas. Van Crouch is a speaker and corporate consultant.

Have a Storehouse


In order for the ant to gather and prepare for the future, she must have a storehouse. We believe God is teaching us if we are wise like the ant, we will have a storehouse for the "winter" seasons of life. As springtime begins, the ant is still living off her storehouse, but she also begins again to immediately gather to rebuild and strengthen her storehouse for the next winter. The ant never stops working on her storehouse, and always has more than enough.

Don't Live in Denial


For us, "winter" could mean a number of things. It could mean an unexpected change in our careers, an accident, an economic slump, or any number of "emergencies" or "storms" that come into our lives. Some of these may even be good things, or seasons that we can plan for, like our children going to college, buying a new home or car, starting our own businesses, or even retiring. Ants don't live in denial, consuming all they have today, and believing that "winter" will never come; grasshoppers, however, do.

Keep Contributing


Even if an ant can only put one grain at a time into her storehouses, she still does it. Her storehouses are in a large network of underground tunnels (she is diversified so that if one is destroyed by a storm, the others will still be intact); and her storehouses have different purposes (some are to take care of the young, others to make it through the winter, others set aside provisions in case winter is longer than expected, etc.).

Take Care of Yourself


Like the grasshopper, if we do not have a storehouse, we are subconsciously planning for somebody else to take care of us. Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming about someone paying all your bills and doing all your work? "Take care of me, honey." "Take care of me, Social Security." "Take care of me, boss." With that kind of thinking, we slide into a mindset of irresponsibility.

The Bible does not say that somebody is going to ride into our life like a knight on a white horse and rescue us from our financial problems. An ant accepts responsibility for meeting her own needs.

Work in Community


No man or woman is an island. God did not create us to be completely independent. At times, we all need counseling. At times, we all need help, mentoring. We depend on other people. Ants work in a community helping each other--we should do the same and realize that sometimes the burdens we face can take several of us to handle.

Don't Be a Victim


The ant waits for no one. She just gets up in the morning, stretches her six legs and hits the road. She says by her actions, "I am not a victim. Life may throw some curves at me, but I'm bigger than the curves of life. Life has given me obstacles, but I will go around them. I will go over them. I will go through them, if necessary. I'm going to get there, bless God. I'm going to make it. I am not going to sit here waiting for someone else to solve my problems. I am going to do whatever I can today--even if it is only a little."

Hold on to Hope


Wherever you are, your situation is not hopeless. Wherever you are today or whatever has happened to you in the past, start preparing for tomorrow. Look at what you have--whether it is time, talent, treasure, or any combination of these--and start building storehouses for your future.

If an ant can do it, surely God's children can do it as well. If a tiny insect can have determination, we can have determination. If a miniscule insect can be brave, we can be brave. And if the ant can be strong, we can be strong. If the ant can be wise enough to have a storehouse, then we should consider her ways and be just as wise. If we do, then who knows what great things God may do in our futures!

Reprinted from 'The Storehouse Principle' by Al Jandl and Van Crouch, CrossStaff Publishers, 2004. Rev. Jandl is founder of Living Stones Church in Alvin, Texas. Van Crouch is a speaker and corporate consultant.

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