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. – Proverbs 6:6-8
It has been my practice for the last several years to read a chapter in Proverbs each day. I have encouraged many others to adopt this daily regimen to accomplish daily meditation and supplement and compliment other readings. I believe that this inspirational and informational book reveals both the Wisdom of Solomon and the righteousness of God. This powerful book of Hebrew Scriptures is not written in some mumbo-jumbo style, Rubik’s Cube theology to unscramble. There are no weird, abstract theories to unravel. It’s just straight talk insulated in capsules of truth.
It is fascinating that throughout the Bible, God interjects and uses the animal and insect kingdom to speak to us; In Proverbs He uses the ant!
In this particular passage, which concerns the little ant, God is speaking to the sluggard – the one who is lazy, apathetic, idle, careless, and busy doing nothing. You must agree that our neighborhoods are filled with potential, but many are idle, wasting time, not leading their families, not volunteering their time, talents, and resources to benefit others. Many are not utilizing the gifts, and abilities to maximize the powerful possibilities that exist in our faith communities, and socio-economic contexts. In his book, Maximize the Moment, Bishop T.D. Jakes speaks about being productive, ambitious, and working toward desired goals. “The wisest thing we can do,” Jakes writes, “is minimize the liabilities, plan for the unexpected, enjoy the ecstasies, endure the disappointments, and then face the inevitable.”
The ant is perhaps the most successful of all the social insects. There are over 11,000 kinds of ants. They live in colonies numbering from a few to over 20 million. There are approximately 1 quadrillion ants in the world today. Ants are so numerous that scientists say that if all the ants in the Amazon rain forests were weighed, they would weigh four times more than all the other species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians living in that area combined!
What makes this insect kingdom so powerful is, first, ants work as a partnership. They seem to work in love; no fights, or disagreements. Ants are not distracted by titles, supervision, rank, or relationship. Everyone works together. Preston Bradley, the famous preacher and community activist from the early 20th Century said, “The world basically and fundamentally is constituted on the basis of harmony. Everything works in co-operation with something else.”
Second, ants work persistently. Whenever food is found, ants are found. And the work continues even when danger is lurking, because ants are motivated by hunger. Third, ants seem to be driven by purpose. They are industrious making provisions for this life, but they also make provisions for their future.
Humans can learn a few lessons from these so-called lesser creatures. Imagine what we can achieve if we work collaboratively, for the uplift of God’s kingdom here on earth.
Lord, help us to work consistently, persistently and cooperatively to better other’s conditions, for we know, we can achieve everything in life we need, if we help others get what they need. Amen!
Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net Website: WTRMinistries.com