Nature always fascinates me when I consider the symbolism woven into its beautiful tapestry. Humanity has much to learn from the natural world around us if we allow ourselves some time to pay attention and observe. The first part of this mini nature series will take a look into the lives of worker ants. These sometimes-pesky little creatures are a great representation of hard work, persistence, and community.

Have you ever watched ants build themselves a new home? One by one, they take granules of dirt out of the tunnels the carve, eventually producing a pretty impressive ant hill. The incredible thing is that they do it fairly quickly despite their size. Yet, each ant has a function, and they work in harmony with one another to get the job done. And when it rains, they rebuild without hesitation.

Just like the picture above, I’m sure you have seen ants carrying other objects to take back to the ant compound. Sometimes its materials. Other times its food. Even still, they all have a job to complete. More often than not, ants traverse in groups, but have you considered the task of an ant who appears to travel alone? It hasn’t gotten lost; it is fulfilling its mission to support the rest of the community.

We all have a role to play. The proverb below takes into consideration a sense of responsibility and purpose in our lives and what we invest our time and resources into. Sometimes it is easy to forget that the ability to work is a gift from God. When He placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, God tasked him to take care of it (Genesis 2:15). Even God, himself, worked to create the universe we know today (Genesis 1). Work is a beautiful thing that deserves to be noticed as something other than obligation.

Proverbs 6:6-11
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

Sure, we all could use a “vacation” every now and then. We are all being pushed in many directions, wearing our energy and temperaments thin. Without proper rest, we risk becoming bitter and irritated, a snare than can lead to more pitfalls. God desires that we take time to rest from all our work (Exodus 20:9-10), as He also did (Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:11). But we must be careful that we don’t slip into a state of entitlement and slothfulness, as we see much of happening today (Proverbs 10:5, Proverbs 12:11, Proverbs 15:19, Proverbs 20:13, Proverbs 26:13-16). There are natural consequences to not investing our resources wisely.

If God has granted us the ability to work, then we are encouraged to do so. For those who don’t have much to give, we are to assist them in taking care of themselves and providing for them (Ephesians 4:28, 1 Timothy 5:8, Titus 3:14). That is community. That is love (1 Corinthians 16:14).

Soul search:

Observe your heart. What are your motivations behind the type(s) of work you invest your time, energy, and resources into?

My prayer for you this week:

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Philippians 2:14-15 ESV
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.