I was reading yesterday about the 14th Century Asian conqueror Emperor Tamerlane. He and his forces had been routed and defeated by his enemies. He had made his escape from the battle, and he was hiding in an old deserted barn while the enemy troops scoured the countryside looking for him. He was depressed, his troops had been sorely defeated and scattered, and he did not know what he was going to do. He was desperate and dejected as he lay there hiding in the barn. As he was lying there hiding, a small scene of nature caught his eye and he began to watch with curiosity. There was this small ant, and the ant was trying to get a piece of corn up over a wall. The kernel of corn is much larger than the ant and try as he may the ant could not get the kernel over the wall. So Tamerlane began to count the futile efforts of this ant, to see how many times he would try until he gave up. He counted 10, 20, 40, 60, 69, but on the 70th attempt the ant succeeded. Sixty-nine times the ant tried to carry it up over the wall, and sixty-nine times he failed. But on seventieth try he succeeded and pushed the grain of corn over the top. Rejuvenated by what he had just witnessed, Tamerlane leaped to his feet with a shout! If an ant can do it, so can I! And he did. He decided that victory would be his, despite the odds! He reorganizing his forces and put on a fight that put his enemy to flight and destroyed them.
That moment with the ant changed his life and changed the course of history as Tamerlane went on to conquer more of the world than anyone else except for Alexander the Great. This story is not about Tamerlane. As great as he was and despite all that he conquered, and regardless of the statues of him erected by mankind to show his greatness, he is nothing next to an ant. But he learned a great lesson of perseverance from the ant, and that is something we also can learn, but there is so much more.
Did you know that an ant brains are largest among insects? Did you know that an ant’s brain has the same processing power as a Macintosh II computer? Say what? Yes, it’s true. As I am sure you have guessed by now, we are going to discuss the Kingdom of God and ants. Thousands of years ago, King Solomon in Proverbs wrote: “Go to the ant, consider its ways and be wise”. Now I have seen a lot of ants in my time, killed quite a few, been stung a few times and in general never liked ants and sure have never thought of them as wise. But everything in God’s Word has a purpose, and I discovered a few things that I think we can all learn from them,so I set out to let the Lord show me how to be more, ”Ant-like”. Here’s what I found.
First of all, I think we should know that the Bible speaks very highly of ants. One of the things unique among ants that sets it aside, showing its higher intelligence from many other insects is that ants think together! They are of one purpose, one direction, with one goal in mind. Now I have heard that before…Let me think…who else is supposed to be like that? Oh yea, the Body of Christ! We, as born again redeemed by the blood believers need to put aside our petty doctrinal differences and ignorance in arguing theological issues and walk and talk and live in unity, working together so that we can find the answers and solutions that the body of Christ is dealing with. That is a lot better than trying to figure things out all by ourselves, denomination by denomination. Do you know that there are almost 300 “Christian denominations” in America? Are you kidding me, come on, that is ridiculous. Yea I said it. It is not that hard to come together when we need to, or when we have to. Remember 911? Remember, when that tragedy happened, all the barriers that we as Americans had dividing us, for a period of time were set aside and we were in unity. Imagine that right now if we were living in a country where if you were found out to be a follower of the Lord Jesus, and they found you out, the authorities would bring you before a judge to pronounce upon you the sentence of death. Could you imagine the Judge saying well, Let me see now, what are you, a Methodist, a Baptist or one of them Charismatics? It would not matter to him, and it does not matter now. Blood is blood, it is mine, it is yours, and it is OURS. And the sooner we realize it, and start living what we preach, the better and stronger as a Body we will become, unified working together for the Glory of God.
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
I want to not only urge you, but I want to stand on a soapbox and shout to the members of every church, to the whole organism of Christianity, let us put aside any and all differences we might have with one another and find common ground through the Blood so we can carry out the goals of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When we are perfectly united in mind and thought we will do great things for God’s Kingdom. Think, work and act together…Like Ants.
Now one thing that Tamerlane witnessed is, Ants are Strong. Ants can lift from 20 to 100 times their own body weight. That would the equivalent of you or I being able to carry our car on our back! Even more impressive, as is in most cases, if the ant finds something that is too large for him to handle, too big for him to carry, he will call on others to help him share the burden of the load. He will get a couple of his friends and together they will carry it, or if it is still too heavy they will get a couple dozen of their friends together, and if it is still too heavy they will get a couple hundred of their friends together and together they will get the work done. Wow, I like that example. We as believers can share our brother’s burden. It may take 10 of us or even 100 of us, but that is why we are the “Body of Christ”. We are more than just 1 or 2, we are many. We are a group bound together to bear each other’s hardships and trials, lifting one other up before the Lord.
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ… Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up, But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm, But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
In Acts we read in the 4th chapter that all the believers were one in heart and mind. As believers we have the power of God’s Spirit in us empowering us to defeat the enemy. But when we encounter something too large to handle alone, too big to face, alone, we need to call the Body to help us share the burden of the load. We will get a few believers and we carry it, or if it is still too heavy we will get dozens believers together, and together we will overcome. Like Ants, Christians are stronger, Together.
So take the and above points and put them together and what you come up with is a formula for victory, a formula for the Body of Christ to overcome. Like I said in the beginning that I do not particularly care for ants and I have spent a considerable amount of time in my life trying to get rid of them. I will tell you what I have learned in trying to do so, ants will overcome every obstacle they encounter. It doesn’t matter if you attack them with powder, pellets, liquids or spray they will find a way around it, under it, over it, below it or above it. They are resilient. If that doesn’t work they will wait until the effects of whatever you have used wears off, then they will return. Why, because the ants are determined and committed to the life of the colony. Even though dozens, hundreds or tens of thousands may fall and die, they don’t give up. Together they will overcome. If we in the Body of Christ can wrap our minds around that philosophy, and embrace it, together, determined, and committed to the life of the Body of Christ instead of trying to go it alone, the whole world within us and around us will change. We cannot quit when adversity comes our way. We as believers need to be able, willing and ready to make the sacrifices that are necessary to ensure the life of the Body by which were born into by the blood of Christ. The Word of God tells us,
In Psalm 91:7 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come near you. And Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” TOGETHER. Ants are successful because they work together.
We need to unify ourselves within the Body of Christ, working together, and decide like Tamerlane did, that victory will be ours, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the odds. Then we like Tamerlane can say, ………….If An Ant Can Do It, So Can I!