Have you ever studied ants? They are fascinating! Did you know there are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world? Although it can be frustrating when ants come into your home or invade your picnic, ants do help the environment. By digging tunnels, ants aerate and overturn dirt, bringing nutrients closer to the surface and preparing the ground for rain. Ants prey on the eggs and larvae of unwanted household insects such as flies, fleas, bedbugs, and even cockroaches. If left in your yard, ants can also be a barrier to termites.
Ants are social; they live in large groups called colonies. Depending on the species, ant colonies can consist of millions of ants. There are three kinds of ants in a colony: the queen, the workers, and the male ants. The queen's role is to lay eggs, while the male's job is to mate with the queen. The queen can live for many years and have millions of babies. When she dies, the colony can only survive a few months. She doesn't rule the colony, but she is certainly an important member. Worker ants work, and they work hard—they can carry over 20 times their body weight! They rarely become queens or reproduce. Worker ants may have one or several jobs. Among those jobs are caring for the queen and her young and gathering food for the colony. They store food in special chambers and build chambers and tunnels. They even use their saliva to make the dirt walls hard. Some worker ants are soldiers. They are larger than the other workers, and their main role is to defend the colony and fight off enemy ants or insects. They use their large heads to block the entrance to the nest. Another fascinating fact, ladies, is that all workers are female.
Proverbs 6:6 says to go to the ant, consider her, and be wise. She works hard; she doesn't stop gathering and working for the family within the colony. She protects, raises young, organizes the nest, and puts things in their proper order. She fights to protect against those who want to harm her family.
In Matthew 9:37-38, Jesus said that they harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. He encouraged us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out more laborers. Jesus spoke these words because He was moved with compassion as He looked around and saw the great multitude of people who were weary and needed healing, like sheep having no shepherd (see v.36). Like Jesus, we should be moved with compassion as we discern the needs of others. As children of God, we are the laborers.
- As a laborer, and like the ant, are you protecting the environment around you? Though our environments may differ, we can all learn to protect those around us. To start, begin each day in the Word of God. The more we learn who He is, the stronger and more compassionate we become to do the work marked out for us and to be used in the lives of others (see Psalm 119; Matthew 6:33; James 1:22-24).
- Like the ant, are your working hard, to further the colony—the kingdom of God? As we dig deeper into Proverbs 6, we are basically told if we are not like the ant, we are lazy. Ouch. Examine yourself. Ask the Lord if laziness prevents you from making an impact for the kingdom of God. Jesus came to work and to serve. He finished the work and, therefore, glorified the Father (see John 17:4).
Let's get motivated and work together ladies. We have been called to work hard, to protect, to raise up our young, to fight. So, my dear sisters, "Be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless" (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT).
National Pest Management Association, "Pest World for Kids: Ants," 2014, http://www.pestworldforkids.org/pest-guide/ants, accessed 5/24/15.
"What good are ants? (David, Panama City, Florida, USA)," AntAsk, August 26, 2012, http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2012/08/what-good-are-ants-david-panama-city-florida-usa.html, accessed 5/24/15.
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