Ants

June 6, Proverbs 6, verse 6, “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.” This verse always intrigues me because the ant is respected. I can hear myself mutter at the little fellow, “How did you get there? Where did you come from?” This week as I sat drinking a cup of coffee for my morning break, I noticed a huge black ant crawling on my sleeve. I was on a lawn chair at the end of the garage, not touching anything. That ant just appeared. He was assisted as I flicked him over to the grass and muttered. The ant is not like the bee that has workers hunting and reporting where the pollen is. Indeed it always seems to be seeking randomly. Is it following a smell, a trail of unseen spilt food, or what? I don’t know but it crawls across my counter. Let me make some wild connections.

The ant has no commander or leader that we can see. Likewise, the motives driving a person’s heart are unseen and often misunderstood. Our leader as Christians is not seen either and our actions as people in this world “should be” counter cultural. Following the voice of the Holy Spirit, Christians have appeared in all sorts of places working in ways the world does not understand. I think of Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta. I think of Florence Nightingale and the nursing work that grew from her activity. I see the volunteers helping clean up after the riots. Orphanages to care for unwanted children. Perhaps to many the activity makes no sense and is irksome but perhaps like the ant, God sees and understands.

The second thing mentioned is that the ant stores food. Perhaps today we are challenged to reflect on what we are storing up in our hearts for the harvest. If we store hate and bitterness then the harvest is bleak but if I collect gratitude and dwell on good memories, I know I am a happier camper. It does not make injustice go away but I am stronger to make my little contribution. I suspect, I often see myself as that tiny little ant scurrying across the counter or down the sleeve, looking leaderless, looking random and wondering if the little I collect today matters, but Proverbs calls us to ponder the ant and “be wise.” Blessings as you go about today!

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