A Sermon on Six Legs
Proverbs 6: 6-11 highlights one of God’s amazing creation – the little Ant! It teaches a continual and colourful lesson about God’s power, glory and majesty! Throughout the Bible, God uses the animal and insect kingdom to speak to man. He uses the ox and the ass in Isaiah 1:3. He uses a rooster in the Gospels.
He uses a donkey in Numbers 22:28 to speak to Balaam. In Proverbs, God mentions several special members of the animal kingdom and each one has a Godly message for you and me!
In this passage, which concerns the little ant, God is speaking to the sluggard? – This refers to one who is lazy, idle, careless, sticks to nothing, minds no business and brings nothing to pass. I don’t know about you, but I recon this fits all of us from time to time! We can all be a bit lazy at times?
Today’s Sermon on Six Legs considers this passage for I believe there is much that we can all learn from the little ant.
What we may learn from these tiny creatures can help us become better Christians and it can help our Churches be more effective in the cause of Christ! Besides that, the Lord said to do it!
By way of introduction let me say that the ant is the most successful of all social insects, There are over 11,000 different kinds of ants. They live in colonies numbering from a few to over 20 million. Those who study them would tell us that there are approximately 1 quadrillion ants in the world today. (This is a 10 followed by 15 zeros!) That’s a lot! Ants are so numerous that scientists say that if all the ants in the Amazon rain forests were weighed, they would weigh four times more than all the other species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians,
living in that area, – combined!
With these few thoughts in mind, let’s notice some facts about the little ant. These little fellows have a lot to teach us humans about doing the Lord’s business. So I want to preach today on the ant, for he‘s A Sermon On Six Legs.
Consider First of all THE WORK OF THE LITTLE ANT
The Ant’s Work In A Partnership
They Work In Harmony – they do not fight, nor step on one another – oh we could learn much from that example alone!
They Are Helpful – they Help carry each others burdens; they assist their injured neighbours; and rescue those buried or
those who fall into a pit.
They Operate In Unity – for every weakling, there are many strong. Each has a job, but none are more important. This was what the Apostle Paul was trying to teach us in our reading earlier from 1 Corinthians Chapter 12. We are all members of one body, and none of us are more important or more significant than the other, and we are all expected to work in unity for the good of all. This thing isn’t about you or about me. It is all about Jesus! And there is power in unity!
They tell us that when the driver ant is on the move, lions, elephants and poisonous snakes all flee! Entire villages of people move out of their path. Some of these colonies are so large that they can form a front up to a mile wide, and they destroy everything in their path. Humans and animals do not stand a chance against these feared six legged creatures – the little ants!
The power of the early church arose out of their unity! If the church today, would put away all their petty differences and disagreements, and stand together in the power of the Holy Ghost, Hell would tremble! – I have no doubt about it!
Then the Ant’s Work Is Productive
Ant’s Have An All Volunteer Service – No guide, yet each ant works. Thousands of ants may dwell in one ant colony, but every one of them pulls his own weight! They all must work! Soldier ants, they kill all the ants who refuse to work. What an incentive to stay alive! While in the Church, we have guides – Pastor’s, Evangelists, Teachers, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit, … we have everything necessary to get the job done for Jesus,
but sadly, some refuse to labour! Many talk about serving God, many criticise others who serve, but only a few will readily roll up their sleeves to get the job done. You know, in more than 35 years of Church ministry, I have seen it again and again, that the WORK done in any Church is always done – only by the
The Ant’s Labour According To Their Own Ability –
Sadly within the Church we are all of us trying to be like others; trying to do what others do, trying to succeed where others have succeeded, trying to imitate others when we should only be imitators of Jesus Christ.
One of the most interesting of the ants is the Honey Pot Ant. He eats himself full of nectar and then feeds the rest of the nest.
He truly is a blessing to all! Is your work blessing anybody?
Like the Church-goers, Ants come in different shapes and sizes, They assign their duties by size. The Large become Soldiers, The Medium – Labourers, while the Small – Tend the young.
Similarly, each job in the church is important! You are important to God’s work and to the work of this church.
He will use you according to your ability, as you grow,
your responsibility and influence will also grow.
The Apostle Peter reminds us in 2 Pet. 3:18 that we are expected to grow, to mature in grace. God has especially gifted and equipped you for some type of work in the body of Christ,
and as I regularly tell my students, God has put deep inside of you, the desire to do what he equipped you to do, – look inside for your purpose and your destiny – I believe its born in you!
Consider the Ants – These little fellows can’t build a cathedral, but they can build anthills! – and that, after all, is what the Lord designed them to do! All God asks is that we use our abilities; and I recon that the greatest ability you have – is availability! Are you available to God, are you willing to say
“here am I send me”?
Studies have shown that the majority of the workers in an anthill are female! Whether we like it or not, and whether we will admit it or not, the same is often true in the church! Take away our women and we would be in deep trouble! We need some men to step up to the plate and take a swing for Jesus.
Solomon who was the wisest man who ever lived, says in Ecclesiastes. 9:v10, that …
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest“. Some of these days the “night “ will come and the day of opportunity to work will have ended, but what will you have laboured to achieve for Heavens sake?
Notice too that the Ant’s Work Continually – they work All Day! No pay or promotion, no thanks or pats on back, no reward – yet they work! Ants never get mad and quit and they never go on strike! They never walk out on the job, they just
work! We believers ought to take note – Paul says in Gal. 6:9.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not“. And what amazes me is that if
you destroy an ant-hill with your foot; they immediately set about rebuilding it. No Fainting there!
One of the lessons we can take from all of this is the fact that there is plenty to do, but no willing workers.
Rather like the story I heard a while ago of an Old farmer
(maybe you know him, or maybe you are him?)
– Anyhow, he was sitting on a tree stump at the edge of his field and a tourist saw him and stopped to speak to him. “How are things going?” asked the tourist. “Oh, tolerable “ answered the farmer. “I had some trees to cut down, but a cyclone came along and saved me the trouble.” “That’s amazing!” said the tourist. “Yes, the lightening set fire to the pile of trees and saved me the trouble of burning them up.”
“Wonderful”, exclaimed the tourist.
And then he asked the farmer, “And now what are you going to do?” The farmer stretched in his chair, grabbled a mouthful of apple juice and said, “Oh nothing much, I’m just waiting for an earthquake to come along and shake the potatoes out of the ground!” Now that’s LAZY!
Indifference and ease are the curse that blights the Cause of Jesus Christ. Some people just don’t care that there are family and friends heading for Hell? Many who do not work, criticize those who do. Many are shirkers and not workers. While Hebrews 6:v12 says; “ …be not slothful (lazy), but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises“.
There can be no prize if you’ve had no part in the contest.
I heard about a single ant dragging along a dead grasshopper many times his own size. He was struggling to move this giant meal. It was amazing what that little fellow could do! Yet on a closer examination, two more ants were clinging on, they were getting a free ride at the expense of their fellow ant. I sometimes think that there is a lot of that going on in the church too?
So we have seen that the Ants work is Partnership and that the Ants work is productive, finally let us consider that
The Ant’s Work Is Persistent –
One could say that the ant’s motto might be located in Paul’s letter to the Philippians 3:13 & 14 where Paul says “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
They are Persistent, they don’t give up and are impossible to stop when food is around – You don’t believe me? Just spill a little sugar on the countertop and leave it there. When one finds it, he will return to the colony and bring hundreds with him! When the driver ant comes to a stream, he simply tunnels under it and keeps going. When he comes to a river, the entire colony rolls itself into a giant ball and floats over to the other side. They will allow nothing to stand in their way!
What a lesson! We who have tasted and found that the Lord is good – need to go back into the colony of the world and tell the others about Him. After all, as believers we are often simply like the beggar telling other beggars where to find bread!
Ants keep going in times of danger – but the average Christian
says – “I can’t or We can’t”; that attitude cost Israel 40 years in the wilderness. What could it cost you? We must move from
“I can’t” to “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!”, Phil. 4:13. We are moving under the power of the Spirit, Rom. 8:31. The ant is motivated by hunger! Remember the story of Caleb and Joshua – Num. 14:9 – Nothing should ever be able stop us if we are in God’s will. No critic, no trial, no obstacle – So let our motto be: March Christian March!
There is a species of ant known as The Shining Slave-maker. These ants steal pupae (eggs) from other colonies; and bring them back to their own colony. When these pupae hatch, they think the colony is their own and embark on a life of service to their new masters. The slave-makers themselves can fight well, but they have become accustomed to a life of ease. They have degenerated to a point where they cannot even feed themselves. If you put them in a jar with food, they will starve to death.
But, if you put in a single black ant, he will feed them all!
We must beware lest we too become accustomed to a life of leisure. After all, this is no game we are in, this is warfare!
Then the Ant’s Work Has Purpose – Purpose put in by God –
Did you know that some ants have a part in the raising of dairy cows? Numerous species of ants collect a sweet substance called honeydew that is excreted by various tiny insects, including aphids, mealy bugs, and scale insects. The insects most commonly used for this purpose are aphids, which pierce plant tissues to suck up juices from a plant. Among some of these ants, workers leave their nests regularly to watch over groups of aphids and protect them from predators.
In some instances, these ants construct shelters out of soil or carton to shield the aphids from the environment. Worker ants stroke the aphids with their antennae to induce them to release drops of honeydew. The ants then transfer this honeydew to another group of workers, who carry it back to the nest and share it with nest workers. Individual workers may spend days or weeks among the same group of aphids. Some clear ground so certain kinds of grasses can grow (these are known as farming ants – essentially they are raising the cows); some gather grain and bite the end of the kernels to prevent it from germinating! Nothing can change the ant’s priorities and the ant’s purpose.
We believing Christians need this same resolve – we need to be “abounding in the work of the Lord” 1 Cor. 15:58. In everything we do, we need to work with resolve! We need to purpose in our hearts that nothing short of death or the rapture will turn us away from working for Him! We need resolve in: Our praying, in Our giving (The Ants have storehouses too!) In Our separation (Ants practice personal and community cleanliness!) and we need fresh resolve in Our witnessing.
(This sets us apart, but it is essential!)
So much then for the WORK of the little ant! Now in conclusion let us Consider …
THE WISDOM OF THE LITTLE ANT
First of all They Make Provisions For This Life – They are Organized, with food and shelter. Many ant-hills are organized like a modern city. There are streets, supply rooms, hatcheries, and barracks. People should be wise also and prepare for today.
We don’t need many of the things we think we need!
Our greatest need in this hour is to walk with God! We need Him and what He can give us, more than anything this world might offer us! We need what we can only get from the Word of God, from prayer and from a daily communion with the Spirit
of God! We need God in our lives NOW!
Ants Make Preparations For The Future
Teaching us that we need God in our lives ALWAYS
Grasshoppers make no preparation for their future, and when winter comes, they all die! While Ants, on the other hand, believe in winter and by instinct they prepare for it.
People prepare for this life – savings, insurance, retirement, but make little preparation for the next life, for the future? What about death? Men believe in life after death, but do nothing about it. People need to be ready and God has made a way! His name is Jesus – Jesus is the way! You need Him in your life NOW. You’ll need him in your death WHENEVER!
I would like to think today that you are at least as wise as the ant: are you? Have you made any preparations for the future? Are you ready to meet Jesus? Have you gathered all the provisions you need to walk and work for God in the world at this hour? Are you in fellowship, in union with the rest of the Church, the rest of believing Christians around you?
Are you doing the job Jesus saved you to do? and are you labouring for Jesus, with urgency, knowing that the darkness, the night-time of this life is swiftly approaching?
If not, then please consider this Sermon on Six legs
God Bless You. Amen.