It was around this time last year when I awoke to the thought running through my mind, “the value of ants.” After a moment of consideration, my thinking about these words seemed strange. But I couldn’t let them go, so I decided to do a little research. I looked up what the Bible says in Proverbs about ants; I watched a documentary about ants and their behaviors; and I searched information about ants on the Internet. Though it's not necessary to the point of today's blog for me to share the details of what I learned, you should understand that I found out very quickly how interesting and significant these little creatures are. However, my newfound knowledge of ants did not help me understand why I woke up thinking about their value, and I almost wrote my dream off as silly and meaningless.
While attending a religious meeting a few weeks later I found myself listening to a preacher reference ants to support the point of his topic. I can’t remember the title of his message nor what he talked about, but his reference to ants grabbed my attention. I felt as if God was telling me to pay attention and understand that my thought process when waking up a few weeks prior was not silly or meaningless. In that moment I believed God had prompted my thought about the value of ants and that He would eventually use it to teach me something. I've been holding it in the back of my mind ever since.
Please don’t be angry with me about what I tell you next. I kill ants. And just the other day I killed a lot of ants. A colony had been built at the base of one of my trees, and I was afraid they might be fire ants (one thing for which Texas is known). I did not want to get stung, nor did I want my cat to get stung if she ever decided to investigate. Ants are a nuisance and seem to be meaningless with no purpose, so, from my perspective, demolishing the ant pile and killing the ants did not seem like a very big deal.
Sometimes I feel the same way about myself as I perceive ants. Sometimes I feel like I contribute little worth and like others see me and my efforts as meaningless, insignificant, and without purpose. Sometimes, I allow my spirit to be crushed and flattened by the perspective of others who seem to be engaged in more significant and purposeful efforts.
I have found lamenting to God to be the best thing for me to do whenever I feel ant-like. And while doing that the other day, He prompted my memory of those words I woke up to a year ago—“the value of ants.” It seemed as if He had saved those words for that moment to remind me of my value to Him. He gave me nothing more—no powerful insight into my future—He just simply said, “You are valuable to me.”
Look at the picture I have provided to accompany this blog. It's an excavated ant colony, and it reveals what ants’ efforts look like below the surface. Ants may not seem very valuable to me or anyone else, but they are valuable for a lot of reasons. And even though I can't see the extent of their work on the surface, below the surface their efforts are pretty significant. They are especially valuable to each other, and in their value to each other they fulfill God’s purpose for making them—nothing more and nothing less.
Maybe you're feeling ant-like—like you and your efforts have no value. If you are feeling meaningless, insignificant, and without purpose maybe these words I've offered in this moment are meant for you. You and your efforts are significant, meaningful, and have purpose. You are valuable to me and to those around you. But, most importantly, you are valuable to Him. And that’s really all that matters!