Have you ever looked down at the ground and noticed an ant or ants working away? Some might be carrying food they just found or marching in a neat, orderly line. Have you ever seen ants forming a bridge, one on top of the other and moving to the end of the line until the bridge is built? It is quite fascinating. Ants are truly a magnificent design by our Creator. I love nature and watching how God created things to function on this earth.
Ants (“Formicide”) form colonies, some small and some very large called “supercolonies”. Each colony has workers, soldiers, drones (fertile males) and queen (fertile females). These colonies are described as super-organisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony. (1, 2) Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking ants are Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, and a few places in the Polynesian Islands and Hawaiian Islands. (3)
Here are a few interesting facts about ants. Some facts you may know and some you may not know. (I promise I’m getting somewhere. Please don’t quit reading.)
1. They are capable of carrying objects 50 times their own body weight with their mandibles.
2. Soldier ants use their heads to plug the entrances to their nests and keep intruders from gaining access. In certain ant species, the soldier ants have modified heads, shaped to match the nest entrance. They sit there with their head at the entrance like a cork in a bottle. When a worker ant returns to the nest, they simply tap the soldier ant on the head to let them know they belong to the colony.
3. Certain ants defend plants in exchange for food and shelter.
4. The total biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all the people on Earth. Makes your shiver.
5. Ants sometimes herd or tend to insects of other species such as the aphids or leafhoppers. Leafhoppers take advantage of this nurturing tendency in ants and leave their young to be raised by the ants.
6. Ants will enslave other ants keeping them captive and making them do work for the colony.
7. Ants lived alongside the dinosaurs.
8. Ants started farming long before humans.
9. Ants follow scent trails laid out by scout ants to gather food.
There is so much I could preach and write about in just these 9 facts. But I will not, yet. I am writing for another reason.
The Scripture today comes from Proverbs 6:6-11, “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”
I could preach on being lazy and getting up and working for a living. But this is not that message. The ant does not have to be told to go out as a scout and work and plug its head in the entrance of the nest. The ant does not need its hand to be held, an agenda, or a calendar. The ant gets up and does its job because that is what the ant was made to do. This is the ant’s purpose. This is what the Creator made the ant to do.
Unfortunately, we have too many Christians waiting on the preacher to tell them what to do. We are waiting on the prophet to come to our church and give us a “Word from God”. I have been guilty of this. I have wanted my calling to be validated so many times. I was insecure about the calling God placed in my life. I needed reassurance. I needed to have my hand held. But why are we waiting on man, who makes mistakes by the way, to tell us what God has already confirmed and put into place? Like the ant in Proverbs 6, we need to get up and prepare and gather without having our pastor or another Christian tell us where to go and what to do. We need to stop JUST relying on the Sunday morning church service to prepare us and start gathering and preparing by getting into the Word at home and worshiping God in a quiet, intimate place. This is on us. We cannot blame anyone else when our calling, our ministry isn’t being effective or even getting anywhere at all. Please do not misunderstand, church is awesome and you should go! But we have relied just on going to church for our spiritual development and do not realize how malnourished we are. We cannot eat food once a week. Our physical bodies would break down. So then how do we expect our spiritual person and our ministries to grow and be healthy on once-a-week sermons?
I attend Solid Rock Church in Pinson, AL. My pastor, Pastor Larry Ragland, preached a sermon on Elijah and Elisha. Elisha served Elijah. I was remembering this sermon as I was studying Proverbs 6. No one told Elisha he had to serve Elijah every day. Elisha woke up, went to work, and then served Elijah. That was his ministry. What did he do for Elijah? This is the truly amazing thing to me. He washed Elijah’s hands (“preparing” them for dinner) and he held Elijah’s coat (“gathered” Elijah’s coat when he would disrobe). Elisha was the ant that Proverbs 6 is talking about.
The latter part of our Scripture asks us how long will we be sleeping. “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” We have become LAZY in our work for the Lord and in our spiritual maturity. God is asking us how long will we sleep. We have slept too long that the enemy has now entered and is robbing us. He is taking our weapons, our blessings, or clothing (armor of God) and we just sleep. Now we wake up and have no tools to fight the enemy and we haven’t eaten in so long that we are weak. We are no good to anyone. We cannot win souls. We cannot continue in our ministry. Christians are not bears. We cannot hibernate. It doesn’t work that way. We must constantly be gathering (reading the Bible, studying, praying, worshipping) and preparing.
How long will we choose to sleep? How long will we choose to wait on someone to gives us a “word”? How long will we let our families, our friends die and go to hell? How long will we sit and watch as marriages fall apart? Our time, my time is NOW. We must go now. Francis Chan once said that the older/senior Christians have become the laziest. Thinking they have paid their dues and they get to rest and just be Christians. NO! We need to realize that time is wasting. The older we get, the closer to God we get. We need to begin preaching the Word more than we did before.
Even if you do not have a specific calling (pastor, youth pastor, or evangelist) you have been called to witness. You have been called to advance the Kingdom of God. Stop waiting on someone to tell you. The B-I-B-L-E tells us. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20. Even GOD himself told us……GO! “Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19.
WAKE UP O SLEEPER!
“Wake me from this sleep Lord. Shake the dust off my hands and feet I have WORK to do for You. Shake the dust of my hands and feet I have a life to live for You. Arise and shine my burdened soul. You [God] broke the chains, it’s time to GO!” Lyrics from Sleeper by The Remission Flow - This song is awesome check it out here
References: (1) Oster GF, Wilson EO (1978). Caste and ecology in the social insects. Princeton University Press, Princeton. pp. 21–22. ISBN 0-691-02361-1 (2) Flannery, Tim (2011). A Natural History of the Planet. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-8021-9560-9. (3) Schultz TR (2000). "In search of ant ancestors". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97 (26): 14028–14029. Bibcode:2000PNAS...9714028S. doi:10.1073/pnas.011513798. PMC 34089. PMID 11106367.