orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

August 10, 2013

Learning life principles from ants

Charles Holt
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — All nature may teach us lessons about life if we take the time and make the effort to learn. Jesus effectively used different animals in several of his parables. He used little birds for some of his greatest lessons on faith and trusting God for our daily needs. One of his most prolific examples is that of a lamb or sheep. Scripture says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). There are many other verses.

Consider, for example, the common (or not-so-common) ant. The Bible makes reference to this little creature only twice and on both occasions, Proverbs 6:6-11 and 30:25, we are exhorted to “consider her ways, to learn wisdom.” The Message translates Proverbs 6:6-11 as: “You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent house guest!” Wow! That is some strait-talking advice.

Melissa Pandika, writing for the Los Angeles Times on July 30, 2013 said: “Our society often touts teamwork, but when faced with an easy task, groups may actually perform worse than individuals – at least when the group is made up of Temnothorax rugatulus ants.”

She says, “A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that T. Rugatulus ant colonies could consider two competing nesting sites and make a good collective decision about which was the better option if the difference between the two was small. When the difference between the nests was obvious, however, the “group advantage” disappeared and colonies were more likely to choose the inferior site.”  

It is clear, this specie of ant can teach us the need for and value of cooperating together to get the best job done. “Be of the same mind one toward another,” the apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:16. Follow the ants lead, learn wisdom!