GREAT BIG LESSONS; TINY LITTLE TEACHER: Go to the Ant, Lesson 1
Fire ants! I spent another summer trying to rid my yard of them. Sometimes I think that there is just one big catacomb underground, connecting all around my yard and maybe even the whole world. This would explain why when I kill one mound, another one pops up, seemingly overnight. It’s like a game of “whack-a-mole.”
But ants have a lot to teach us.
What parent has neglected to quote Proverbs 6:6-8 [NIV], by way of encouraging a child to be industrious and hard working? Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
The ant can teach us much more than just that we should work hard in this life. So, I offer another lesson that we can be gleaned from the Kingdom: Animalia, Class: Insect; Order: Hymenoptera; Family: Formicidae.
LESSON 1: Communication is key to the success of individual members and of the colony as a whole.
Ants communicate with each other using pheromones, sounds, and touch. They use pheromones to mark trails in the dirt to lead others to food or to warn them of danger – ensuring that the other ants have the information they need to succeed.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to have this team/colony attitude toward communication that will help our fellow brethren succeed. We need to share what we know, help others find nourishment and warn them of dangers we find along the way. None of this is about bossing the other ants (brethren) or outlining pet interpretations of scripture. It is about finding ways to share what we know with other new parents, with children and teens, or with sisters experiencing the same troubles we have had to overcome. We should not hoard our knowledge.
Malachi 3:16 [KJV] Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Malachi doesn’t outline what those who feared the Lord discussed, but I think we can be assured that it wasn’t the latest football stats or political drama. I think it is safe to assume that they spoke words of encouragement to one another and discussed the scriptures and writings available to them.
Proverbs 25:11 [ESV] A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. We should speak up with words of encouragement for one another at every opportunity. Compliment your sisters in Christ. Say thank you. Say “I love you, sister.” Say, “You can do it!” and “I am praying for you.” These words have great value to God.
Communicate in other ways as well, as the ants do. A timely hug does wonders for me when I am down. A pat on the back or a squeeze of the hand can communicate love, support and sympathy when words just don’t do the trick – or when the right words to say won’t come.
The entirety of our church services are about positive communication. Together, we communicate praises to God and Jesus. We pray together, speaking of the needs of individuals and the church as a whole. The speakers are tasked with offering us words of life, of hope, of encouragement. When we fellowship before and after church, we also have the opportunity to speak words of life, of hope, of encouragement and so much more.
Ants don’t chatter mindlessly or gossip. [See 1 Timothy 6:20 and 2 Timothy 2:16] They communicate with purpose. They communicate for success. We should too.
Go to the ant, my sisters, and be wise.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
*Most of the facts about ants were gathered from this article in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant