It would be easy to have the misconception that to be wise we need to be big and powerful. Solomon was king after all. God granted him all kinds of wisdom to share. But today’s verses 24-25 remind us we can learn a lot from the smallest of God’s creations. “There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer.” The reading goes on to also list Hyraxes (like a robust guinea pig), Locusts, and Lizards. Great examples, but I’m going to focus in on the ants because I have some personal experience with those.
This list is comprised of what some would consider pests. How often have we tried to get rid of them, be disgusted by them, or maybe even feared them? When we really study these creatures, we are humbled. God made these small little beasts with built in wisdom that can really surprise us. If God can give them such wisdom, think what he has done for us?
When is the last time you were amazed by something? We are often too busy living life, managing a household, working a job, carpooling, focused on tasks, to-do lists and the like. When is the last time you encountered nature? Nature contains lessons of wisdom that have been lost in this so-called enlightened world. Like for instance, the ants.
I remember the first time I saw a parade of ants in our yard. We were still living in Iowa. I was enthralled and watched them for a long time. They were walking single file and seemed to have a purpose. It was a long journey from one part of our yard to the other. I wondered what their purpose was. Here in Mexico, we have encountered what I call the “cutter ant.” These creatures can decimate a shrub or plant in less than a day, carefully carrying away the greenery leaving only branches behind. You can watch the leaves of your plant being carried away to an unknown destination. I have always wondered what in the world are they doing with these pieces of leaf.
Then there are the house ants. They seem to appear out of nowhere at certain times of the year. Here in Mexico, it’s pretty much year-round. But ants know what they are looking for. The ones in my kitchen follow a path. You can see them coming and going on the same path. Recently, I saw them carrying a piece of food up the wall. They took turns pushing this huge piece of food up the wall. New ants would take over for the tired ones. I was amazed at how quickly that piece of food made it to their exit point in a crack in the ceiling.
What I take away from the reading today is that we should be taking time to be astounded by God’s creation. We need to see the wisdom in every creature. We shouldn’t ever discount the poor or the weak among us as having no value. Like the ants, we should be hard working, full of purpose, using the wisdom God has given us.
Let’s pray … Lord, while I’m not a fan of having ants in my house or demolishing the plants in my yard, I stand in awe of them. You have given them such wisdom and drive. They don’t question you; they just do what they were made to do. Help me to be more like that, focused on being the person you made me and doing the job you have for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.