This morning, traversing my driveway on my walk to work, I noticed a misplaced little pile of dirt on the approach. As I got closer to it, I discovered that this little pile of dirt was moving. It wasn’t dirt at all; it was an unfathomable number of very small ants.
I’ve had my share of run-ins with ants over the years, but I will say this for them: they are industrious little creatures. When I commented to my neighbour about this little pop-up colony, he said, “Darned critters are going to take over the world one day!”
While that might be an exaggeration – I hope it is! – the truth is that we have something to learn from those ants as the church. God calls us to be active.
As one old preacher once put it, while we are called to be standing on the promises, we are too often found sitting in the premises. The holy huddle just won’t do anymore; we need to be in our neighbourhoods, engaging with people who are not yet in a relationship with Jesus, modelling for them what it means to love God and love others.
That means being active, though not necessarily busy. Busyness, says Eugene Peterson, is an illness of spirit. Most of us are addicted to being busy. But if we’re busy, that may not leave us time to engage with others as the Lord calls us to. We do well to find a balance, and to maintain it.
How can you be active, but not busy? Present a non-anxious presence to your friends and neighbours. Exude confidence in the God who made you, redeemed you and sustains you. Don’t be afraid to share the good news that Jesus can do for them what he has done for you. And be helpful.
“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince
or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer,
gathering food for the winter” (Proverbs 6.6-8, NLT).