GREAT BIG LESSONS; TINY LITTLE TEACHER: Go to the Ant, Lesson 2
Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organization and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Some species, such as the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), are regarded as invasive species, establishing themselves in areas where they have been introduced accidentally.*
Like ants, God seeks to place His people in every environment and ecosystem. The body of believers ought to be found in rural communities and mega cities, as well as all environments in between. Children of God should be found in harsh environments, where persecution may take its toll, and in prosperous nations where the greatest threat may be complacency or failing to give God credit and thanks for our blessings.
In order to thrive and grow, like the ants, we believers should rely on social organization. We ought to be flexible enough to modify habitats and tap local resources. We must be able to defend ourselves.
Social organization: We must remember that God very specifically establishes the social organization of the church. 1 Corinthians 12 goes into great detail about the organization of the various members of the body of Christ, outlining that each one is (1) placed in the role by God and (2) important to the well-being of the whole. 1 Corinthians 12:11-12 [ESV] All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. The governmental structure of churches may differ, but the social organization is the same – a body working together.
Modifying habitats and tapping local resources: Perhaps the best example of this is found in
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 [ESV] For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
We don’t use the same words and examples to explain salvation to our children as we do to adults. We adapt. In a prosperous society like the USA, we can preach via Facebook or Roku channels and reach a lot of people. In India, we may do better by setting up a school. In Africa, maybe we give sewing machines to widows so they can earn a living and feed their families. Our ability to grow and thrive – to be invasive to a society – is impacted by our ability to meet the locals where they are and speak to them in a way that will resonate with their current lives and needs.
Defense: God provides the equipment needed for defending ourselves. Ephesians 6:13 [NKJV] Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. However, we are tasked with doing the work needed to be able to properly use it. 1 Peter 3:15 [KJV] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
Invasiveness: We all look forward to the day when the knowledge of the Lord covers the whole earth. [Isaiah 11:9] Until that time, we are to be about the work of preaching the Gospel and “breeding” more of the Christian species. Mark 16:15 [NKJV] And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Certainly, in the time of the early New Testament church, the believers made pests of themselves. At least, that is how some of the locals felt about them. [See Acts 17:6 and 19:24-27]
Like ants, Christians should be an invasive species. We should be able to defend our beliefs and explain them. We should adapt to the people and circumstances wherein we are called to serve, and adapt to the local resources available to us. Most of all, we must we aware of the vital part each and every member plays in the health of the colony of believers.
Go to the ant, sweet sisters, and be wise.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.