"The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer"
This is the first example of wisdom demonstrated through animals. The writer of this proverb, Agur, points out the principle of wisdom that he thinks translates to humanity: preparation and diligence.
It is wise to anticipate your needs well before they actually occur. In this way you are not caught off guard.
This is the Hebrew word nemalah which means ant. When Agur says that the ants are not a strong people, he means by that they are unable to lift huge loads that humans can. Proportionately the ant is quite strong. But Agur is noting that it is not the strength of the ant that makes it ready for winter and the lack of things to eat. It is ready for the eventuality of a lack of easy provisions by preparing for its food needs in the summer.
The translation is that we should also prepare for the storms of life, the difficulties of periods of our lives, and the extra provisions that one season of our life gives. God has often given abundance at one time so that it will make up for a lack that is coming later. But too often we do not save or store it and blame God for the lack when it comes.
Some people have suggested that we should not save or have insurance or plan our lives, but instead we should just live each day as it comes and whatever we feel the Holy Spirit is leading us to do. This is foolishness, not wisdom. The Holy Spirit planned and arranged and organized the universe and your place in it. Therefore Agur, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, can say that.
This is the Hebrew word kun which means to be firm, confirmed, to make ready. Are you building a savings for retirement when you cannot work? Are you building an emergency account in case you are laid off or cannot work for a period of time? Are you prepared for an illness or disability? Notice that the Scripture says that we should be wise like the ant which prepares for the basic necessities when it is possible.
What is it that you need to plan for or begin preparing for? Health, retirement, schooling, career downturn, marriage, children being born, children leaving, relationship destruction, etc.