The other night, I enjoyed the privilege of picking up my two grandsons and spending the evening with them. The night began with choosing which "fast food" chain we'd pick up our dinner from and then we would take it home to meet up with GG (Great Grandma). As the boys decided on the "meal of the night", we began to talk about the "small stuff" like school, what cars they liked best, the mosquito bites on their legs, and the like. At dinner, something else began to happen. As we sat around the kitchen table, each of us enjoying our salad, hamburger, or chicken nuggets, the youngest was proudly proclaiming how he and I had built some flowerbeds a couple weeks back. His older brother was at school when we did it, so it came as a surprise to see the changes in the yard. I watched as the younger boy explained how he carried the plants, held the wood, found potato bugs, and helped dig the holes for the trees. His chest popped out in pleasure as he exclaimed his part in it all! Truly, it made my heart swell a little, too. It wasn't long before he noticed some of the plants were dying. This is where our conversation took a turn. We began to talk about ants. Yep, little creatures of the earth, hidden from view most of the time, but with hidden power beyond our knowing.
Go to the ant, you lazy person; observe its ways and grow wise. The ant has no commander, officer, or ruler. Even so, it gets its food in summer; gathers its provisions at harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8 CEB)
As you can imagine, two little boys just lit up to discuss such a "neat" thing! After all, this was not "girly" stuff, it was "guy" stuff we were discussing here! The oldest began to explain a show he had seen on some nature channel about the "vastness" of the ant's homes. In fact, he said the scientists poured some type of "stuff" into the hole and as they did, it went into all the nooks and crannies of the "nest". In the ends, it stretched for something like a mile - at least that is what he remembered. We began to discuss how we often see little holes here and there throughout the yard, but how these may not be a "different" ant family, but just a new "door" to their homes. In fact, they may have lots of "doors", but only one huge, totally intricate set of tunnels and "rooms" where they store up stuff, have their "ant nurseries", and prepare for the next "expansion" project.
I told them what I uncovered when I tried to change the sprinkler riser and head for the bed. In only moving the head slightly, I was immediately met with hundreds and hundreds of little black ants. They just came out of nowhere and began to spread out over the surface of the old sprinkler riser and the ground surrounding it. In just a matter of two to three minutes, the ground was a thick covering of agitated little ants! This would not do! I could not even get close to the sprinkler until I took care of the angry little creatures. So, I spent about thirty minutes "unearthing" the ants. Interestingly, I found a huge "nursery" of eggs. I do mean "huge" here, folks. Thousands of little eggs, filled with the next generation of little workers for this nest. Now, for those of you who may feel we should not kill God's little creatures, I am sorry, but in the past six months, these little creatures had almost killed my huge elm tree, were eating every plant I placed in the bed and had provided more than one or two "flesh wounds" to both me and the boys while out in the yard. They had to be dealt with!
What we found ourselves discovering in our discussion was how "hidden" things do great damage in our lives. These little ants were providing an object lesson without even knowing it! I don't know if the boys will connect it right now with something "spiritual", but the foundation is laid! We explored how these little creatures "dig in", establish a good location for "reproducing", like my nice flowerbed. They don't have to work hard to create their "foothold" there because the soil is lightly packed, and it is easy to move. In the end, it becomes a huge "nursery" of the next generation of "destroying creatures"! Now, let me connect the dots for you on this one - what we may not notice taking up a place in our lives may very well be laying the foundation for the "destructiveness" of the "next generation" of sin in our lives!
As we considered all the various "anthills" I have in the back and front yards, the boys began to understand how it only took one "home" to provide them access to the next "home". In turn, the entire land upon which we walked could very well be filled with all kinds of "access routes" to move from one home to the other. Hundreds of feet between the two, but an easy journey for these little creatures. Their "industry" is evident in the small "doors" they create here and there. The same is true in our lives. The "industry" of sin's hold becomes evident a little here, and then a little there, until one day, sin's "pathways" are so very well-established in our lives.
The boys are as allergic to these creatures bites as I am. We swell up with huge welts which last for weeks. Since we all enjoy being out in the yard in this nice weather, it became very apparent to me what I had to do - they had to be "baited". In other words, I needed to lay the bait near their nest openings so they'd take it in and eventually be destroyed by it. You know, if we were to actually look for the little "openings" in our lives which point to an access point for sin's entrance, we might just realize we need to lay a little "bait" at those "doors" in order to see sin destroyed! Sin baits us, doesn't it? Why not give it a little of its own medicine? Bait it with what will certainly destroy it - God's Word! Taken in, the Word of God will destroy the "nest" sin has created. Not just in this little "tunnel" of your life, but ultimately at each access point!
Just a few lessons from the ants this morning! Hope you enjoy! Gotta love those boys for giving me some content for my blog!