“Look to the ant you sluggard”
Doesn’t the Bible just have a way with words? I mean who would ever think to say such a statement to you? And if they did, would you ever talk to them again? Or duck behind the grocery isle each time they headed your way? Still, we can’t deny the haunting ring of that word “Sluggard” to us in Proverbs 6:6.
Soooo, I’ve been looking to the ant, the sluggard that I am…
…and while Jogging through the woods in Sun river Oregon I saw a horrendous ant act. A group of these very lively “anti-sluggards” seemed to be having their own personal Armageddon. I actually thought my husband, who had been running in front of me, had just run them over with the stroller and he was the reason for their anxiety.
So I screamed at him, “Oh no! Look!” He obediently stopped (I frequently make him look at random acts in nature with me. Ie. bird with one crinkled up foot, stink bug who’s lost his way, and so on…) and walked back to where I was hovering over the flailing bodies of what now looked to be a risky episode of “Ants Gone Wild”. And grandma would not be pleased. Or would she understand?
The ants where running around, seemingly bouncing off one another, staggering in drunken-like debauchery…and what was that??? Little wings falling off of backs??? Others looked like they were trying to pull their own wings off. Is this what the Bible wanted me to see? It defiantly looked like hard work. Nothing sluggardly going on there. Nope. I believe the human equivalent would be for me to pull first the right side of my hair off, then the left.
But surly there was something wrong with this group? Was this particular ant arena where all the naughty or dysfunctional ants were kept? Like an insect version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?
…My husband was gone….my girl screaming at me from the stroller, “Mommy come on!!!” Off they went to finish our jog while I contemplated yet another message of God’s universe within the ant world. So what did I do?
What all Biblical scholars do of course…I googled it. Right? “Ants tearing off wings.”
It appears that “flying ants” go into this seemingly random act of ripping off their own wings when they get ready to nest. Have you seen it? Have a good look the next time you are sluggardly sitting on your front porch or taking a nice sluggardly stroll though the woods.
When ant colonies reproduce, the new Queens and males are in the colony and are both the “flying ants”. Shortly after mating the male gives up the ghost…into Sheol he and his wings go…But when the female finds her man and mates, she does a whimsical dance and pulls her wings off! Ha! How’s that for a wedding ritual ladies?
Its like our wedding ritual of ripping off the garter…but rather than your husband’s teeth, you get on your best yoga moves to reach behind you and rip off your own wings. Lovely. Now this lady’s ready to set up her colony! Rule the world! Fulfil her calling!
Still, I can’t stop thinking about these “wing pulling”, mighty woman ants, and my role in God’s “Colony”. My calling, like yours, is uniquely designed for me and the way I’m wired into God’s mysterious Universe. What I do, or might want to do, may be quirky or even weird to someone else. (like writing scifi?) But it’s not their role is it? It’s mine. These are my wings I’m pulling off in order to accomplish the next task at hand and while sometimes my calling can be uncomfortable, God’s bigger picture is at stake here. We got a colony to build ladies.
I don’t know if the Queen Ant pulling her wings off is a trial or a victory for her. Perhaps they are one and the same. Often we have to lose one thing to gain something better. Giving up the thing we thought was so crucial to us, so fundamental to our survival, ends up opening a whole new colony of life for us.
What’s that thing you’re holding onto? That thing holding you back from getting on with the task at hand? Fear? Insecurity? Bitterness? Guilt? Perhaps it’s just that fabulous, very spiritual dream you had for your life that never happened? The dream that left you worn out, walking around with limp useless wings. Wings that really needed to be pulled off years ago so you could rejoice at the task God has set before you in the now…whatever that is.
No other ants were pulling off Lady Love’s wings. She had to do it herself before she became the Queen of the colony. Before she settled into her position and place and fulfilled the role she was called to fulfil. Use your gifts ladies. Even if they seem strange or not Kosher.
So I think every time I remember those crazy ants in Oregon, I’m going to remind myself to get on with it. My strange calling. Stop whining. Things aren’t so tough, that chick just pulled her wings off! …That’s my version of a self pep talk… hope it helps.