The book of Proverbs has a number of descriptions for a fool: mockers, simple, obstinate, troublemakers, and sluggards. What’s interesting about poetry, especially wisdom literature conveyed through poetry, is that the text paints a picture of its opposite simultaneously to the picture it paints by itself.

So in Proverbs 6 we read, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise…” The wisdom writer proceeds to talk about ants in order to rebuke a sluggard. But it’s simultaneously describing what a wise person looks like.

The sluggard is a fool, but a wise person is a self-starter (“…it has no commander.”). A sluggard makes excuses for small lapses of effort (“a little…a little…a little…”), but a wise person makes the most of each hour. A sluggard goes about his work haphazardly, but a wise person is committed to disciplined routine (“…stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest”). The result of foolishness is decay. The result of wisdom is flourishing.

Is there any part of your life that is in a state of decay because you’re not getting to work on it?

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