Ant Life

Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest.

–Proverbs 6:6-8

My first significant experience with ants came when I was about five or six years old. I stepped in an ant pile at the park while my family was out for some exercise. I was wearing shorts. The ants swarmed up my bare legs biting me all over. I started crying. The funny (sad?) thing is that I didn’t even jump out of the ant pile. I just stood there, crying and getting bitten all over.

The Book of Wisdom tells us to observe and learn from the ant because the ant is wise. Ant colonies do not have a structure resembling human society, yet they are organized, and they do what needs to be done to survive.

What are some things we can take away from the ant community and apply to our lives?

  1. antsAnts aren’t lazy. They are hard workers. They work early and they work often. It has been well-documented that ants can lift many times their own body weight. The neck muscles of a certain kind of American field ant can withstand pressure 5,000 times greater than its own body weight. (Any more than that, unfortunately, and the ant’s head falls off.)
  2. Ants are forward thinkers. They plan ahead. They stock up on food in the summer and fall when the weather is warm and amiable so they will have enough to live on in the winter and spring when the weather is bitter.
  3. Ants work together. Give a crust of bread to a single ant, and he will take forever to get it back to the ant hill. But ants don’t work alone. They work in swarms. A hundred ants attack a crust of bread — each one carrying a small bit at a time — and in short order, ant babies will be eating the jam-smeared toast you discarded this morning.
  4. Ants are diligent. They keep at it until the job is done. Have you ever watched ants work? I have. It seems like they keep coming and coming and coming. They don’t quit until they accomplish what they set out to do.

Live the ant life. Just on a much larger scale.