Are you a Grasshopper or an Ant?

By: Graceforgrace
November 4, 2012

A former LDS prophet and president of the church, George Albert Smith, stated the following:

We might learn a lesson from the ant. He harvests his supplies when they are available and stores them up against the day when it would not be possible to obtain them. The result is that his larder is usually well stocked. The grasshopper, a much larger insect, does not operate that way. He does not lay up anything in store for hard times, but depends upon providence to provide him what he needs, and the result is that most grasshoppers starve to death.

I fear that some human beings are like the grasshopper and do not take advantage of the opportunities that are theirs in a reasonable way. If they would take a lesson from the ant, they would lay up the food that they need and always have some on hand.

Smith is obviously discussing the need for preparing ourselves temporally against life’s challenges and there are scriptures that support doing this.  As we discussed the need to store things up and prepare for a rainy day in Elders Quorum (Men’s Group), some of the ways we should prepare included:

  • Eliminating debt
  • Having food and water storage
  • Savings account and also money on hand
  • Investments
  • Insurance
  • First Aid education
  • A way to protect or defend family
  • Having a Will
  • Self Reliance such as knowing how to repair, raise a garden, etc.

These are all good, but I can see where people could interpret scripture to mean that we should be grasshoppers instead of ants.  For example, Jesus teaches in both the Book of Mormon and Bible to “take no thought for your life what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on…” (the Book of Mormon shows clearly that He is talking to the apostles and not disciples in general.  However, the Bible isn’t as clear about singling out the apostles). 

According to that scripture, it would seem that Jesus is admonishing us to not worry about worldly things and all we really need to worry about is following Him and He will provide us with what we need.

I can see a benefit of both.  For practical reasons, it is good to prepare for the future.  However, I can see why people think doing so is a lack of faith since the scriptures seem to show a case for doing it either way.

What are your thoughts?  Are you a grasshopper or ant, and why?

2 Responses to Are you a Grasshopper or an Ant?

  1. hawkgrrrl on November 4, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Aesop (whose fable this is) clearly thinks grasshoppers are better. Perhaps if Greece were paying more attention to these fables, they wouldn’t be in the position they are in now.

    I think as an individual you have to have balance between the two. If you are only saving for the future, you are not living in the present. For example, if you save for retirement, you may not enjoy the fruits of your labours while you are fit enough to travel or have adventures. I’ve heard it said that politically, people are either focused on the future (Dems) or the past (GOP), but life is actually lived in the present. We shouldn’t idealize either the future or the past. We can learn from the past and plan for the future, but all that is secondary to living in the present.

    Yet failure to plan for the future puts an undue burden on society (as the story illustrates). Our current spending has already mortgaged our grandchildrens’ future.

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  2. Juliathepoet on November 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    I agree that there needs to be a balance between the two views. I think we need to be smart and keep debt low and have supplies and reserves, but I don’t hesitate to share those supplies with those in needs. Even when we have been struggling financially, helping those less fortunate doesn’t stop.

    I trust God so if I am prompted to share some of my very sparse reserves, I do so without hesitation. He has proven that He will bless me, if I act in His name and help others, no matter what my personal circumstances. I try to always take advantage of opportunities to purchase things at a good price, that we use. Occasionally, there is something that is a great deal but it isn’t something that we could ever use, and I am still prompted to get it. Every time I follow those promptings, there is someone else The Lord intends those supplies for.

    I guess that means that I am a very generous ant?

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