29th August 2011

Give Thought To The Ways Of The Ant!

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,”
Proverbs 6:6 (NKJV)

The ant, as you know, is renowned for its industrious lifestyle. This diligent and energetic example is very easy to observe as they scurry back and forth collecting food for the colony. It seems like they never take a break during their very busy working day. Ants also have a reputation for strength and teamwork, but scientists have discovered that another one of the keys to their success is their ability to organise workers according to age.

A study of leaf-cutting ants in Central America has shown that the younger and more vigorous members of the colony are given the toughest jobs of cutting the leaves they harvest, because of their sharp young teeth. As they get older their teeth become worn and blunt, but rather than being retired, the aging ants are given a new role more suited to their abilities. They become carriers, transporting the cut leaves back to the nest where they are stored for food.

Unfortunately we humans fail to recognise that the older members of our society still have a role to play and can make a worthwhile contribution. Ants on the other hand look after the old, recognising their value and experience—no ageism here!

The Bible teaches respect for the elderly—to have consideration for those who, even though they have passed their prime (sell by date?), still possess a great deal of wisdom and, dare I say, energy and are willing to contribute that for the good of others.

Notice this verse from Leviticus:  “You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32 NRSV).

If we are humble enough to “give thought to the ways” of this tiny insect, we will not only learn more about diligence and hard work, but also about caring for those who have reached the autumn of their lives—making them feel worthwhile and valued!

Prayer
Father of all, help us to look kindly on those who have laboured for many years before us, respect their wisdom and nurture their lives. Help us learn lessons from the tiny ants that you created and be diligent in making those lessons a big part of our daily lives.  In Jesus name.
Amen

Study by Cliff Neill

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