It’s amazing the things you can observe in detail, when you’re relaxed and on holiday.
Recently, while sitting in the sun on the verandah of an old Australian home, I was able to watch some ants. I don’t
recall ever having had the time before, but I discovered ant watching is quite a fascinating past-time.
Somewhere in my past I had heard the saying, ‘Racing around like a demented ant’, but never really understood
how it had come about. After watching these insects for some time, it gave me a greater awareness and
understanding of them. I soon realised that there were several different types of ants, and began to see an
interesting parallel with humans.
As the ants swarmed over the edge of the verandah, most of them raced around rather erratically, looking very
‘demented’. I wondered why they did this so quickly and aimlessly, so I thought I would give them a purpose to
their exercise. I sprinkled some fine demerara sugar on the boards, feeling sure that it would soon be found and
carried off.
Some ants raced right past the grains without so much as a pause, still looking frantically for something when it
was right under their nose. I couldn’t believe it when some actually ran right over it without seeming to recognise
that there was a source of food for the taking.
How much like some Christians, I thought. Some are so busy, they don’t actually have time to feed on the Word of
God, and in fact they don’t seem to recognise a message from the Lord even when they see or hear it.
While I continued to watch, and, I might add, after a considerable time, there came an ant over the verandah edge,
going much slower than the others and it walked in a straight line right to the sugar grains. Hmm, I thought, that’s
Purposeful. Without hesitating, she picked up a grain of sugar and took it back over the edge, presumably to the
colony. Before long Purposeful returned, and pursued her original course back to the sugar to collect more, and
she continued to do this many times.
Thankfully there was one ant, Purposeful, that held firm to her goal, and was willing to share what she had found.
Suddenly I saw another ant, much bigger than the ones I had been observing, and I was quite sure this one would
easily find the sugar. She actually ran over the grains several times before eventually stopping. I presumed she
would pick some up and take it back to her nest too, but no, she stayed there and ate the food on the spot. This ant
had no intention of sharing, so I named her Selfish.
Selfish, I observed, was glad to feed herself, but passed on no message to her friends that she had found good
sustenance. Many believers do just that, and don’t pass on the message of salvation and hope, or show God’s
love to mankind.
Do we share the Word with others? What about good Christian literature that maybe just sits in our bookshelves?
Do we practice hospitality and share our food and home with others? Do we even dare to share our love?
In Timothy 6: 18,19 we read, ‘As for the rich in this world, charge them to do good, to be rich in good works, and to
be generous-hearted, ready and willing to share with others. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as
a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.’
The lowly ant has challenged me to consider which one I am most like.
With the Lord’s help, I will become more Purposeful. Back to Devotionals Page
Cynthia Rowse


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