Lessons Learned from an Ant
Wise King Solomon had a proverb which said, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard: consider her ways, and be wise” (Pr. 6:6). Who would have ever thought that we could learn from an ant and become wiser? Well, God did, so there must be a great deal of truth to it.
Have you ever taken the time at a picnic to study the habits of the ant? Some kid drops a piece of cake on the blanket. One little ant weaves here then there as he walks about like the town drunk. Soon he discovers the piece of cake. First, he runs up to it like he is the king of the mountain of chocolate. Then he runs down the other side and around the cake sizing it up, gathering all the pertinent information about it. Now, what do you suppose he does about this great find. Does he say to his soul “eat, drink, and be merry, for thou hast many goods laid up for many years”. No. It is amusing and astonishing to watch the little creature run off the cake, and disappear into the grass as he goes off in search of his friends.
The first ant he finds he rubs antennas with it. In this action he transfers the information about his great discovery to that ant which in turn transfers it to the next ant he finds. The original ant goes to another and another ant. He wants to tell them all about it so they can pass the word. He finds his brothers and sisters to share the good news with them. Why, this ant might even find his aunt and tell her. These ants seem to have no difficulty understanding his glad message, for it is only a moment later that he returns followed by a whole army of ants and the cake is literally covered with busy, happy little creatures.
Now, what is it that we can learn from these little insects? Is there really any wisdom to be gained in studying their ways? Certainly! Consider our own lives. When we find something that we think is a fantastic find, what do we do? We find a friend and share it with them. We share things joyfully everyday of our lives. The housewife who finds an excellent bargain at the supermarket comes home and calls up her neighbor to share it with her. A businessman shows others of new tax-saving benefits. The farmer shares a new fertilizer that has increased his crop yield. Fishermen share favorite fishing tips.
God has created within man a strong desire to share things with others. Man receives great personal joy and satisfaction from sharing some good information with a friend. We need to harness this ability and share the best information of all, the Good News in the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
John chapter one records two instances of ant-like activity among Jesus’ disciples. John the Baptist said to two of his disciples as he pointed to Jesus, “‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ And they said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.” They came therefore and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.” (Jn. 1:35-40). Now what do you suppose Andrew did having made the great discovering that Jesus is the Messiah? Did he keep this good news to himself? “He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “you are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which translated means Peter).” (Jn. 1:41,42).
Now, so no one gets the idea that this is merely an isolated incident look what happened on the next day. “The next day He purposed to go forth into Galilee, and He found Philip, and Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.” (Jn. 1:43-46).
The Great Commission requires that we, like the ant, go everywhere to everyone sharing the gospel after we have found and accepted it. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:19,20).
This commission first began to be carried out on the day of Pentecost when some 3,000 souls were added to the newly established church, Ac. 2:38-47. The gospel was shared only within the city of Jerusalem until the death of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. “And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles…Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.” (Ac. 8:1,4)
Possibly the greatest personal joy known to mankind is to know that one is saved. A close second however, is the joy that comes with knowing you have helped another find salvation. This joy doesn’t end there because that person whom you taught the gospel will go out and share it with yet another and he will be saved. I have personally seen this principal work in the lives of newborn Christians.
One summer a young couple came to church. The young man was a Christian and had just been stationed at the Air Force Base. His wife was a Catholic. Although he had tried for months to teach his wife the gospel he couldn’t get to first base with her. At this point in time the young man’s faith was beginning to falter. A week after their visit to church, my wife and I paid them a visit. After learning of their situation, we set up a Bible Study with the couple for that Friday. Three weeks later, she obeyed the gospel. Now what do you think she did with this great discovery? The day after she was born again, I called up to see how this newborn babe in Christ was doing. She informed me that she had just spent a couple of hours talking to her neighbors and asked me if I would have a Bible Study with them in her home that coming Sunday night.
Just think of that, she obeyed the gospel on Friday night and by Saturday afternoon already had a Bible study set up with her neighbors for that Sunday night. That Sunday night her neighbors brought along a friend named, Ralph. Although the neighbors rejected the gospel, Ralph obeyed it after five weeks of Bible studies. Within a couple of months Ralph set up a study with a couple who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although this couple rejected the truth, my point has been made. After people make the joyful discovery of the plain and simple Gospel, they rush out to share it with others.
Now can you see the important lesson to be learned from ant-like activity in the Kingdom of Christ? Where is the wisdom in all this? Again, we note a proverb from Solomon, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.” (Pr. 11:30). Why do the wise do this? 1) Because in saving others he saves himself (Ezek. 3:18,19). 2) Because in saving others from sin we cover a multitude of sin (Js. 5:19,20). 3) Because we are not only bringing glory to God, but we bring eternal glory for yourselves and others (Dan. 12:3). 4) Because souls are the most valuable possessions in the world (Mt. 16:24).
If your house was about to be burned and you had an opportunity to save something, what would it be? Whatever was of most value to you? Well, this world is about to be burnt up at the Second Coming of Christ, (2 Pet. 3:10ff). The most valuable thing we can save is your soul and that of others. I still don’t know who invited that one ant to the picnic, but I thank the Lord that he came and found my piece of cake.
– Daniel R. Vess