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Ants Go To Picnics

by Walter L. Wilson (1881-1969)

Walter L. WilsonThe great King Solomon on two occasions has called our attention to the little ant that we might profit thereby. In Proverbs 6:6 he wrote, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise." Later on in the same book he wrote, "The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Proverbs 30:25. Since this wise and good King has recommended that we go to school to the ant, let us do so for a while. I am sure it will be delightfully interesting.

Someone has said that, "The ant is the busiest creature in the world but she has time to attend every picnic." Have you not noticed how quickly the ants find the food? Not only do they hunt up every picnic but they seem to seek out every pantry. They like jelly and jam. They rejoice in sugar and syrup and are not easily kept from entering. They are most assiduous and arduous in all their labors. They are diligent and vigilant in seeking out their food. They seem to be tireless in their labors. They "work while 'tis day," and stay home at nights as all good children should do.

I took Solomon's admonition quite seriously one day and so journeyed out to the Park with the family for a picnic, taking along a magnifying glass. After sufficient search, I found a tiny path through the grass which had been made by the ants. Lying down beside the path I waited for Mrs. Ant to appear. You see, all the ants that go to picnics are females. It is a case of "let the women do the work." The male ants remain down in the ground, taking care of the babies and doing the housework. Of course, Solomon never had to do it, he had plenty of helpers. I did not have long to wait until a lovely little lady ant came ambling along the path, seeking her supper. I quickly placed a chunk of bread down at the edge of the path and my little visitor soon found it. Taking as much as she could carry, she started back along the path going home with her precious burden. Another ant soon met her and I was delighted to observe what followed the meeting. The first ant laid down her piece of bread and with her front feet she gently touched the body of the second ant imparting to her in some way the good news about the location of her great "find." To my astonishment the second ant made no effort to seize the piece of bread which the first ant had deposited on the ground. As ant number two loaded up with bread and started back along the trail, I watched both of them. Each time the performance was repeated and each time the bit of bread on the ground was unmolested. What a lesson this is to our hearts. Chickens, or dogs, or pigs, will quickly grasp any bit of food laid down by another, and will run off with it. The ant knows no such impudence. She respects the rights of others. She admits the propriety of ownership. They disclaim all selfishness. As the ants journeyed home bearing the precious burden, they told so many about their "find" that soon a stream of ants was on the journey, and before long all the piece of bread was stored safely away in their ground homes for the winter. So God's good Gospel has spread. One comes to the Bread of Life and feeds to the full then goes on his journey to tell others whom he meets of the wonderful treasure he has found. By tongue and by pen the news is spread that Christ Jesus is the Bread of Life. So thousands upon thousands have come to Him and others are coming only to find that the half was never told.

Each ant has four pairs of ears (some boys think their aunt has sixteen pairs of ears). There is one pair of ears in the two front legs; another pair in the abdomen; another pair in the thorax and another pair in the head. God has graciously gifted this little insect with unusual hearing ability because it is so small that it cannot see much and therefore cannot avoid danger. God shows His care for ants as well as for elephants. He cares for you too, no matter how small or weak, or insignificant you may think you are. He cares for every moment of your life and He wants all of your devotion and trust.

The ants are very diligent and active in the summer time because they know that the winter is coming when there will be no picnics. They dare not venture out when snow and ice are on the ground. They know better than to leave their homes when the temperature is below freezing. They have learned from some source that frozen food cannot be carried nor broken loose from the ground. Where did the ants learn all of these needful things? Did some atheist or infidel somewhere, sometime, establish a school for teaching ants about the future? Will any of these learned gentlemen kindly step forward and tell us how the ant became so wise? Perhaps, when the ant and the elephant and the alligator and the dog all parted company from the original protoplasm, they divided up among themselves the different ways of living and were self-instructed. Who knows? Let us gather together some of the professors from some of our great universities and have them expound this mystery. "God hath made foolish the wisdom of this world." All the law makers, the joke makers, the sports writers, the money makers, together with all the teachers and professors, with all the politicians and unbelieving preachers in the country put together could neither give life to a dead ant nor teach a live ant how to live. We have a living God on the Throne who knows all about it. He CAN do it, and He DOES do it.

Moses was commended of God because he believed in future judgment and prepared for it. He knew that the avenging angel would pass through the land at midnight and would destroy all the first born who were not under the blood. He knew that even his own house would not be exempt. As great as he was, and as good as he was, he knew that his house must be protected by the blood. He obeyed God, he shed the blood of the lamb, he applied the blood over the door and his house was saved. Noah, too, was commended because he believed that there was coming judgment and wrath and prepared for it. He did as the ants do. He prepared for trouble ahead. He built an ark. He obeyed God's Word and entered in as he was instructed. He had learned the lesson which the ants teach. Life insurance prepares for future death. Storm cellars prepare for future cyclones. Coal is bought in the summer for the cold that is coming in the winter. Christ Jesus is a refuge for the coming storm of God's wrath. Let me urge each reader to be wise like the ant. Prepare now for the storm that is coming after awhile.

From Strange Short Stories by Dr. Walter Lewis Wilson. Findlay, Ohio: Dunham Publishing Company, 1936.

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