Sunday, October 30, 2016

Financial Lessons from Ants

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Proverbs 6:6-8 provided a clear illustration of how ants work together, “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”

I found this interesting article from BeingFrugal.net (http://beingfrugal.net/christian-perspective-lessons-from-the-ant/), where the author explained in detail the ant’s way of life,

The ants are balanced. They eat what they need today. They eat enough to get them through the winter. But they don’t eat too much. If they didn’t eat enough today, they’d die. If they gorged themselves on too much food, they’d explode. They find the perfect balance and this is what financial health is all about with God’s wisdom like the ants.

In other words, keeping the present secured while preparing for the future is what the ants are expert at doing. Unfortunately, people usually engaged themselves into two extremes: forgetting the future because of preoccupation with the present and a future-oriented direction without considering the present. Here’s what the author of BeingFrugal.net observed, “If we live too much for the future, we risk not appreciating the present. If we work too much, we miss out on our children’s lives.” Our life was given by God to maximize its full potential and to discover God’s plan for our lives without being immersed in finding ways and means to stay afloat. What’s more, our life is too short not to enjoy the fruit of our labors with our family, which interestingly was the main reason for doing so. Thus, keep in mind that when your time is set to spend time with your family; it may become too late because the time passed by due to busyness with accumulating wealth.

What are some strategies towards a balanced financial health that we can learn from the ants? First, watch out against the snare of greed (1 Timothy 6:9-11). Merriam-Webster dictionary provided this definition for greed: “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.” In biblehub.com, the Greek word for “greed” is “pleonekt├ęs” which means “one desirous of having more and describes an individual who became “covetous or avaricious; one desirous of having more.” Also, one of the Ten Commandments is against covetousness or greediness. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with having more, the difference comes in with wanting more without contentment and this is where greediness dwells.

Next, implement a detailed budget system. The writer Luke described what it means to calculate,

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28-30).

After settling everything, aspire to become debt-free. Proverbs 22:7b stated, “…the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Aside from having what I call “necessary debts” like mortgages and car loans, keep everything else in control especially credit cards. Living within our means will surely help in this matter.  W. Graham Scroggie, an English pastor and writer said, “There are two ways in which a Christian may view his money--"How much of my money shall I use for God?" or "How much of God's money shall I use for myself?

Afterward, live within your means and invest wisely. How? It begins with honoring God first with everything we own. Proverbs 3:9-10 emphasized, “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” St. Augustine in reflecting what Jesus said declared,  Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.”

I believe that there are more strategies out there but highlighting some of them here aligned closely to how the ants lived their life of freedom from potential problems of greediness. That’s why; consider the ants carefully that if God mentioned them and their lifestyle in the Scriptures, we must take notice for our benefit towards financial health and security. Remember that the wisdom of the ants is transferable to our situation and today. Therefore, what do we have to loose when we consider them?


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