by Grant Luton.
Go to the ant, you lazybones! Consider its ways, and be wise. – Proverbs 6:6
Whenever I read Solomon’s advice to lazy people, I wonder how much good it has ever actually done. After all, if a person is too unmotivated to work, he is likely too unmotivated to look for ants and study them.
But that’s not what I want to talk about.
It’s the last bit of the verse – “…and be wise” – that interests me. What is wrong with us humans that we require ants to teach us?! My entire adult life I have been bothered by why being wise is so difficult. How is it that ants are more successful at being ants then we are at being human beings? This is the sixty-four-dollar question.
Think about it. No one needs to teach a cow how to succeed as a cow. It does not need to be taught how to walk, mate, reproduce, feed its young, and live out a perfectly normal cow life. It did not have to read a manual on “cow”-ness to know how to be one. The same applies to squirrels, badgers, whales, and houseflies. But not humans.
I think the problem has to do with something we have that the animals do not – free will. Sure, a rabbit may decide to eat this bunch of grass instead of that bunch. But, it can’t decide to live celibate, or mate with a porcupine. (Ouch!) A rabbit will always operate according to its programming.
But our nature is not so clearly defined. Our programming is missing some lines of code.
Without proper outside instruction we will utterly fail as human beings. Even Adam and Eve required instruction from their Creator on the day they were created. What’s up with that?! No such instructions were given to the fish, birds and cattle.
So, we find ourselves in a dilemma. We were purposefully created incomplete, but then given free will so we could choose how we would proceed toward completion. I can choose to live life my own way as an incomplete human being (a.k.a. a complete fool). Or, I can acknowledge that there is a gap in my programming and seek the missing lines of code that will make me fully human.
Our free wills can lead us into all sorts of devious (and deviant) behaviors. We require instruction. We require an operator’s manual. This manual provides wisdom to discern what our problems are and how to resolve them. (There is even information in it about how to quash laziness. It involves ants.)
According to this manual, wisdom (i.e. the knowledge necessary to live as a human being) begins with humility (i.e. recognizing that I need the manual).
The question at this point is why did God create humanity with this obvious lack of wisdom? Why this built-in need to seek it?
The answer is actually quite simple, and it is this: God desires an intimate relationship with us. And what better way to spur this relationship than to create within us a need that only He can satisfy?! “For Adonai gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding…For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” (Proverbs 2:6, 10)
If a person has enough of a spark of wisdom to realize that he needs wisdom, then he is off to the races – the human race, that is. Being a human being does not come naturally. It comes supernaturally – from the Word of God. It alone contains the wisdom we lack, and the more we code God’s Word into our minds and hearts, the more we become fully human.
Probably, you have already acknowledged this need in your own life, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. So, the next step is to pick up the manual, discover the amazing wisdom it offers, and continue the adventure of learning how to live a full and complete human life.
“For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her.” (Proverbs 8:11)
Grant Luton is minister for Beth Tikkun Messianic Fellowship in Akron, OH. He is the author of “In His Own Words: Messianic Insights into the Hebrew Alphabet,” and hosts podcast teachings on the Torah and other Scripture online at www.bethtikkun.com. Grant is a skilled wood worker, pianist, and happy-to-be-retired High School shop teacher.