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” (Prov. 6:6-8).
Here in the tropics, we have every imaginable kind of ant. I am told that in Japan alone there are 262 different species, and it is estimated that there are about 20,000 different species of ants in the world. Each species has its own unique characteristics so that the whole subject of ants is mind boggling. These various types range from the tiny sugar eating ant in most American kitchens to the huge flesh-eating army ants in the jungles of South America.
If you watch ants for any length of time you will see that they really communicate with each other and very effectively too. Scouts return and communicate with nest mates by touching each other with their antennae, and they also, leave scent trails for others to follow. Young workers can be trained by older workers. “Nurses” feed larvae predigested food and help pupae emerge from silken cocoons.
This month, during the hottest season, tiny brown ants have invaded our kitchen and practically carried us away. As soon as I cook something, they are there to carry off whatever I might spill or drop. Even stew in a covered stainless steel pot attracted them within a few minutes, and they were literally swarming over the lid and sides trying to gain entrance. By carefully following the trail, we were able to block the hole so that they could not come again to annoy us, but that had tbe done over and over again. Each day, we left some bait to attract them and then diligently followed their trail to eradicate the colony.
What lesson can be learned from these tiny, diligent workers?
- They are faithful and persistent in the execution of their duties.
- They share and cooperate with each other and work for the benefit of the colony.
- They often fight the enemy for the general good of the group.
- They work without an overseer while it is “yet day.”
Can we as Christian women behave like these tiny creatures? The inspired writer of Proverbs says so. We should not be slothful in business or in our duties tour physical families. We also must not be slothful in our duties tour spiritual family. We need to consider these creatures of God and be wise.
“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
- The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
- The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
- The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
- The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces” (Prov. 30:24-28).
Ants are only mentioned twice in the Bible, yet notice the admonition given about this amazing creature. “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer… … Gtthe ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Prov. 30:25; 6:6).
What is it that the Lord would have us learn from these creatures He has made? Notice two specific qualities as well as the resulting evaluation.
1. The ant is a creature that is not strong.
Do we sometimes feel weak and inadequate for the job we have been given? Are we seeing what God sees in our lives? We must heed the admonition Paul gave the Philippians when he said,
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith tbe content. I know both how tbe abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:11-13).
The Lord has told us that He is our deliverer, and that we need not trust in ourselves or man. Through the prophets, He has given us many such admonitions:
- In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me (Psa. 56:11).
- It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man (Psa. 118:8).
- Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help (Psa. 146:3).
- The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whos0 putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe (Prov. 29:25).
2. She prepares her meat (food) in summer.
- “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame” (Prov. 10:4-5).
- “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Prov. 12:24).
- “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious (Prov. 12:27).
- “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Prov. 13:4).
- “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men (Prov. 22:29).
3. She is wise and we should be like her.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matt. 7:24-27).
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:45-46).
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15-17).