When A Lawnmower Runs Over An Ant Hill
I don't know about you but I actually take a little pleasure when I run over an ant hill while mowing grass. It's not in a bully with a magnifying glass kind of way, or even a sadistic kind of way but more of a get out of my yard kind of way. Today while mowing I started thinking though, there's some lessons we can learn from these ants when the "lawnmowers" of life come.
Don't Worry About What You Can't Control
Life, as we all know, is not an if storms come our way thing, but when. Life goes haywire at times and if we spend our time and energy focusing on the circumstances we can do nothing about we are wasting our focus. I'm willing to bet those ants scattered by the hurricane force blades of my Gravely are no longer worried about the lawnmower. They can't control it. Their focus and energy is better spent on what they can control; putting their lives back together. What seems like frantic scattering is actually the opposite. It's frantic alright but it's moving to action. I think back to how many times I got bent out of shape, if only slightly, about something I had absolutely no control over.
Protect the Queen
Obviously we don't have a queen, at least not here in America. For an ant their queen is everything. A number one priority. What's the lesson for us? Prioritizing. Much like not focusing on what you can't control, this is focusing on not only what you can but what you should. For ants their priorities are probably shelter, food, and their queen/leadership. The thing is, they didn't decide that when I rolled up on my lawnmower. They knew their priorities so when the wind came and the blades slashed through their home they moved into action for what was important. For us as Christians, we don't serve a queen but a King! And that kingdom should be our focus. After all, as Paul says in Philippians 3:20, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." Our focus and priority should be on that kingdom and building it amidst the storms and winds. As I've gotten older and my family and ministries have grown it's forced me to think about my priorities. They are very different then even just ten years ago. When my storms come, those are the things I'm grabbing first.
Get Back to Work
I don't know if humans are the only species to play the blame game but we definitely do it better than anyone or anything else. (to the queen) "Listen, it's not my fault that thing ran over our home destroying it bits, scattering our food supply and family all over the place. What do you want me to do about it?" Okay, I'm confident that conversation never happened but we've all heard similar statements. It's not my fault doesn't get the house put back together or the food gathered. Ants put their heads down and get back to what they do. I'm reminded of what Jesus says in Luke 9:62, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Press on and push through. As leader, parents, or even just people we must teach and model this well. Storms will come and when they do we must get back to work, stay the course, and get done what must be done.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure I am not a Myrmecologist(I had to look it up too) so this is speculation, albeit somewhat educated speculation, to how ants respond to me running over their mound with my lawnmower. I do believe these are good reminders though for ministry, for leadership, and for life. I recognize that these are not original ideas but reminders we all need from time to time.