The Bible Edge
Practical Points to Ponder from Proverbs
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
Since I was 23 years old I’ve never had a paying job wherein my boss lived in my state. They lived hundreds of miles away, several states away, I have not “punched a clock,” have not been paid by the hour, and was not held responsible for any day-to-day schedule. But I was held responsible for production. If the production was not there, then perhaps my bosses would have demanded accountability for my time, or they would have simply terminated me as many others were. From this lifelong experience two things have been proven time and again.
One is, the time doesn’t count, the production does. Once when just a cub salesperson the president of our organization happened to be in my area and we spent some time together. He told me this: “I don’t care if you only work for 30 minutes every other Wednesday as long as you increase sales, that is all that matters. But I will tell you this, if you only work 30 minutes every other Wednesday you will not increase sales.” At a sales seminar I heard this: “Sales is either the highest paid difficult job, or the lowest paid easy job there is.” I remember once when a vice-president of our company was addressing the new employees at the beginning of their training program, he said: “This time next year more than half of you will not be employed here. Not because you don’t have great personalities, or you fail to plan, or you don’t keep records, or you cheat on your expense accounts. You won’t be here because you won’t be able to handle the freedom of not having a boss standing over you every minute of every day.” Sadly, he was right, year after year he was right. It takes a strong individual to manage themselves properly in the face of great freedom.
Two, the second thing that I’ve learned from this lifetime experience is that the Bible is true. We must consider the ant. The ant works when it should so it can live when it can’t. I do not know much about ants, I’ve never studied them, but I do know that they are industrious. They stay busy sometimes carrying away a crumb that is bigger than they are. They have no overseer, no boss, no manager, they just do their job. They produce that which is needed to live.
Freedom is that which everyone wants, but freedom is not that which every person maintains. While I’ve had no boss on a day-to-day basis, I have had bosses, good bosses that held me accountable when the numbers came in. Fortunately, I had a dad that taught me a great work ethic. I’ve enjoyed the freedom and have also enjoyed the taste of success. Today, my boss is multifaceted. My schedule, my church members, my responsibilities and my God in Heaven all work together to make sure I manage my freedom appropriately. Just like in the work a day world, in the ministry, many have been dismissed because they could not handle freedom, they didn’t consider the ant.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.