Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Proverbs 24:27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.

Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.


MEMORY VERSE: Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. —James 4:13-14


CENTRAL THOUGHT: While anxious care is forbidden by the Lord, the Bible teaches industry, forethought, and preparation for the future.




Proverbs 6:6 “Sluggard”: slothful; indolent; lazy one. “Be wise”: restrain from acting in an evil manner; judge, govern; make firm; sound; free from defect by the exercise of skill (Brown- Driver-Briggs).

Proverbs 14:15 “Prudent”: crafty, in a good sense. Shrewd or sensible.




The example of Joseph in Egypt illustrates this lesson very well. Divinely warned by God through Pharaoh’s striking dreams, Joseph recommended a plan to store the grain and produce from the plenteous years in preparation for the lean years to come. This was not considered by God to be an over-anxious state of mind, but a prudent and sensible mind that was able to foresee the calamities ahead and be ready for them.

The virtuous woman mentioned in the lesson today was pictured as someone who could rest assured her household was ready for cold weather, because she had been preparing clothing way ahead of time. The young man was advised to get his fields ready ahead of time, before he established his home, so that he could successfully feed his family.

Christ also advised to count the cost in the planning of a building, in order to see that adequate preparation and supplies will be available when they are needed. Of course, all of these literal examples point ahead to spiritual realities, but applied diligently to normal, earthly business, they are the course of wisdom.

The verses in James warn against presumptuous planning for the future. We are not to assume that life will always be as prosperous as it is today. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Yet, as we remember that the steward in Luke 16 was commended for his foresight and planning, we also must take action in wise preparation for the future—temporally and spiritually.

—Angela Gellenbeck




  1. What insect is used as an example in Proverbs? What can we learn from this?
  2. What comes to a person who does not prepare for the future?
  3. A prudent man looks ______ to his __________; he foresees _______.
  4. A virtuous woman plans ahead and provides winter ____________ for her household.
  5. Show the difference between the future plans that are forbidden by the writer in James, and the prudent planning advised by the Proverbs writer.




The lesson today balances the concept of being prepared with the concept of trusting in the Lord. As prone to misunderstanding as humans are, it could happen that we get the wrong idea about trust in God and think, “Well, I’m just going to trust the Lord to feed me and my family and not even get a job or save any money.” It is important that we achieve the balance here, and, while not being over-anxious about the future, we must have a “sedate care and industrious confidence” (Adam Clarke).

Ants can teach us so much. They are constantly working; they work efficiently and together. They save what they don’t use; they even bite off the ends of grain so it won’t germinate during storage. By trying again and again, they move great loads heavier than themselves. They work all summer preparing for the winter ahead.

It’s not “faith” to be slothful and lazy. The Bible commands us to be like the ant. Our forefathers knew the worth of saving money, growing a garden and putting food into storage. Today’s youth would do well to learn these same lessons and find out how to prepare industriously for the future, according to God’s guidance, instead of presuming that our present prosperity will last forever.

—Angela Gellenbeck




“How Can I Overcome Slothful Habits?

Develop the Disciplines of Diligence. The reproofs for slothfulness are painful: ‘The way of the slothful man is as a hedge of thorns…’ (Proverbs 15:19). Yet, there is hope for the sluggard. God gives instructions both to him and about him.

Study the Principles of Diligence. If you tend to yield to slothfulness, determine to learn the principles of diligence and adopt them as a way of life. The ant illustrates basic characteristics that are lacking in the lives of those who are slothful: initiative, self-direction, respect for seasons, the ability to finish jobs, and foresight needed to plan for the future. Learn about the ant and memorize and study passages of scripture that address slothfulness and challenge you to become diligent. Read biographies of great Christians to learn how they developed diligence by obedience to God’s Word.

Recognize That Slothfulness Develops in Stages. Slothful behavior is a temptation for all of us. Anyone can become a sluggard. The gradual development of slothfulness usually begins unnoticed; however, if left unchecked, it disables those who surrender to its appeal.

• Latent Slothfulness: the inward tendency to reject God’s requirement for diligent labor.

• Initial Slothfulness: making soft choices in daily decisions.

• Disabling Slothfulness: when ‘little’ surrenders to ease become a way of life.

“How can you counter the development of slothfulness? Instantly obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit,become accountable to others for completing tasks, and develop the discipline of fasting.

Counteract Slothfulness with Hunger. One effective deterrent of slothfulness is hunger. ‘…If any would not work, neither should he eat’ (II Thessalonians 3:10). A fast, coupled with studying what the Bible says about diligence, is a good place to begin your battle against slothfulness.

Establish the Discipline of Rising Early. Getting up early in the morning strikes at the very heart of slothfulness. If necessary, be accountable to others for getting up on time. Resist the temptation to get just a little more sleep. When you wake up, get up! A proper amount of sleep is essential for good health, and it is a gift from God. However, God warns us that too much sleep is destructive. ‘As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed’ (Proverbs 26:14). ‘Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread’ (Proverbs 20:13). ‘He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame’ (Proverbs 10:5).

Learn to Value Time. Time is one of life’s most valuable resources. (Ephesians 5:15–17). By considering how much time you actually spend on weekly activities, you will gain a fresh motivation for making the most of your minutes. For one week, keep a record of what you do every fifteen minutes. Evaluate how many of the week’s 168 hours you used for sleep, meals, work, study, rest, entertainment, and conversation. The results may shock you! Use this information to help you order your days with wisdom. ‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12).’”

—An excerpt from the Men’s Manual, Volume II, IBLP Publications
—Submitted by Harlan Sorrell