I wonder how many times Solomon tried to get rid of his ant infestation before he reflected upon them in a positive way? “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise,” (Proverbs 6:6), maybe this was just a positive way of accepting the fact that he would never get rid of those pesky ants. If Terro had existed in his day, maybe we wouldn’t have that Proverb…
Of course I say this jokingly – actually, mostly because we have a large infestation of ants on our kitchen counter and I spent a solid half hour setting Terro traps and watching them feed on the poison… I’m single for a reason, folks.
But in all seriousness, we talked about something that’s in Proverbs 6 tonight at Villages – a sort of smaller gathering for Emmaus Life (my new church) for the people who want to help the church grow. Scott Lamb has been playing Basic videos from Francis Chan and then opening the table for questions, feedback, and overall discussion. Tonight’s was about following Jesus.
“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,” – Proverbs 6:6-8
Though those little ants annoy me with how they occupy the kitchen counter without paying any rent and crawl over everything, they get stuff done. They don’t have anyone telling them to do it; they just do. Yet Jesus finds a weak point in the nominal-follower thought process;
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” – Luke 6:46
Chan likened this idea to him telling his daughter to go clean her room: He doesn’t want her to come back and say, “Dad, I remembered that you told me to clean my room!” with joy and excitement over the fact that she remembered. And he doesn’t want her to come back to recite his words in Greek or form study groups to talk about what it would look like if she cleaned her room. No; he wants her to simply clean her room. Likewise, Jesus wants us simply to follow Him.
Solomon’s ants had no commander, no one to tell them what to do, and yet they did it anyway. God has told His followers over and over again the various (simple) things He wants us to do, and yet we slack off, make excuses, and find ways not to do those things… love our enemies, feed the poor, etc., etc. We pride ourselves in memorizing these commandments or learning the Greek translations or devising seven steps to most efficiently follow God, but nothing gets done. Hungry people don’t get fed.
If you’re unfamiliar with Francis Chan’s Basic videos, there’s always a scene being acted out to reinforce what he is saying. Tonight’s seen was a guy sitting on a couch in a room with four doors. Three of the doors looked pretty normal, but one door had a red carpet that led up to it. Instead of walking up to this door, the guy chooses the door to his left – opens it and walks through. He then comes into the room from the door on his right. He goes back through and comes in through the opposite side again, walks by the red carpet, opens the door that he had just walked through again and it was a wall. He glanced at the door with the red carpet, but chose the opposite direction – only something stopped him. He tried and tried to latch on to the door, but some sort of force (quite Jedi-like) was pulling him back. Eventually, he stopped, turned around, and walked through the red-carpeted door.
In many situations in life, walking in God’s ways is walking the simple life… that is, when we don’t complicate it. When we don’t make excuses, when we don’t justify our comfort zones, when we don’t hide behind our fears, or when we don’t choose our own cyclical ways – that’s when following God’s ways is easy. It’s easy because it’s freeing. It’s freeing because when we follow God, we find Him there waiting for us – waiting to take our hand and walk with us. And when we’re walking with the Lion of Zion, we have nothing to be afraid of.
Tonight’s challenge for me is to keep my eyes open – like that NEEDTOBREATHE song. God wants me to be alert to all the opportunities He’s placed before me to show His love, His kindness, and His glory. It’s as Jesus said in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
We are the laborers.
May we work like Solomon’s ants.