Learning from neglected teachers – Part 1
Some people are so set in their ways that they shut their mind to valuable insights of life. But God has significant lessons for all from the most unlikely of things. Take the ants, for instance. Though regarded generally as insignificant creatures, ants carry out their activities with a great deal of wisdom and purpose.
God wants us to labour wisely with our time; treasure and talent like the ants and be successful in our personal, family, professional and Christian engagements. To succeed in life and ministry, we need to learn some basic principles from the ants.
Acting with foresight, the ant “having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” It focuses on its work at the right time of the day, because it anticipates the future time, when there will be no chance to gather food. Like the ant, we need to give prior thought and attention to profitable activities for a better future on earth and hereafter. So, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” The Lord does not want any of His children to be static or immobile. The words “consider” and be “wise” are very important in our approach to God’s word. It is not enough to study it, but we must also give it enough attention and consideration for us to derive needed wisdom.
“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” (Deuteronomy 32:29). We cannot claim to be preparing for a better future and remain idle. We must be actively involved in profitable labour to realise that dream. Present profitable labour for a secure future makes ants to be regarded as “exceeding wise.” Though feeble, ants are not beggars; they are not poor or impoverished; they have wisdom, strategy and ability. The acronym ‘ANTS’ stands for Activity with foresight; Networking for the future; Tenacity despite feebleness; and Strategy against famine.
Ants carry out their activities with foresight. They are active with a goal, drive and destination. Unlike human beings, who, sometimes, need encouragement, guidance or motivation to accomplish a given task, the ant “having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” With the presence of Christ, the Holy Spirit and our knowledge of the Scripture, we are expected to excel in life more than these little creatures that act only on instinct. If these feebler creatures can be so committed to their cause, we do not have any reason to shy away from the work, which the Lord has committed into our hands.
The Scripture says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” The Lord wants us to carry out our family, spiritual and professional assignments with utmost concentration. As faithful people, we do not wait to be motivated, rewarded or promoted before rendering service to the Lord. Since we know that rewards await us on the final day, let us always have “a mind to work.”
We should draw the following basic lessons from the ants: (1) Antidote against laziness. So, anytime tiredness or weakness beckons, remember that ants are feebler creatures, but are active and productive. (2) Activity in labour. Like the ants, we must convert our energy to productivity. It will profit us more, if we are active in evangelism, follow-up, teaching and training other people to become useful instrument in God’s house. (3) Absence of lukewarmness. Ants are always active and busy in goal-oriented activities. (4) Advantage of littleness. Ants take advantage of their littleness to get to places that bigger creatures cannot reach. Unlike some humans, who regard their littleness as disadvantage, ants make advantageous use of their littleness. (5) Addiction without leadership. Ants are addicted to activity and work without leadership. Believers, who know what they ought to do, but still wait endlessly for instruction, should learn from the ants.
Further Reading (King James Version): Proverbs 6:6-8; Deuteronomy 32:29; Proverbs 30:24,25; Proverbs 6:6-8; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Nehemiah 4:6; Revelation 22:12-14