I recently moved into a different area of town after living and serving with a local ministry for almost a year. This move has been so timely for many different reasons. Only the Lord knows what He is about to launch me into. The few short weeks I have been in my new home the Lord has revealed so much to me concerning myself and the Body of Christ. Many of these lessons have come within the past week of me warding off ants in my new kitchen. Once we received a good dose of rain here last week the ants created quite a stir.
The ants have only been in one location: beneath the window sill above my kitchen sink. At first it wasn't so annoying. They were small in number and in size so all I had to so was wipe them off of the top of the sink. After a few days of this, and using a bleach spray bottle (bleach kills everything, right?) and nothing ending the problem I asked some of my coworkers what to do about ants. After Googling it we found that Vaseline is apparently a known remedy to get rid of ants. All I had to do was smear some around the sill, where I suspected they are coming in from and where they had been "traveling".
Last night when I got home I had several tiny friends in my kitchen yet again. So I got out the Vaseline! I started "drawing" circles with it around the ants and put it in all the places Google told me to. The ants were trapped. They wouldn't cross the Vaseline and when they tried they got stuck.
I left the kitched for a while and went back to find that one ant "escaped". It managed to get out of the circle (trap) but in so doing left a trail of Vaseline. It was easy to find this determined ant using it's own trail. Once I found the pest it was already dead after suffocating in Vaseline.
I'm not sure if Vaseline is going to cure my ant woes but this ordeal has caused me to ponder much more than pest control.
That one determined ant reminded me much of myself and the Body of Christ as a whole. Far too often we become trapped in our own sin, leaving a trail of consequences long behind us. We'd rather suffocate in our sin than admit we need help, to admit that we need a Savior. There isn't a point on this side of Heaven that Christ followers become immune to sin and it's effects. Most of us feel as though we must have it all together all of the time. After all, Christians aren't supposed to have problems, right? Completely wrong. Sadly we have become professionals at hiding our sin rather than confessing it to one another as we are instructed (James 5:6). When we don't bother to uproot the sin in our lives we end up becoming a group of very aggravated and aggravating people, much like ants are when bothered. My friends, this was never what the Body of Believers was to become. You see, I believe that the quote is true "Confession to God brings forgiveness. Confession to man brings healing". (I apologize for not knowing who said this.)
If the Church began to truly appreciate the gifts and the work the Lord has given each of us to do we would stop becoming so aggravated with one another and work like ants. Ants work together for the good of one another. All of the ant hills I have ever seen are both incricate and delicate. The workmanship is so detailed and well thought out, yet so delicate that any rain or strong wind causes it to collapse.
Friends, if we all lived like ants, working together and striving for the same Kingdom purpose to make His name great, everything that we are so aggravated about falls to the wayside. Living like ants entails us looking after the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). Ants work hard and work together. They carry one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2) and make sure that what they were created for is accomplished.
Despite their short life span (about 3 months), ants work diligently. When their hill is rained on, or small children find entertainment by smashing it, the ants start all over again. Church, why do we give up so easily? We call it quits after just one thing goes wrong. We lose sight of what we were created for: to serve the Lord and to serve others (Luke 10:27). If we get too caught up in all of the details we end up missing the beauty of the here and now.
I want to live like the ant who is determined to do what it is created for, not being stubborn looking for my own way. Determination didn't get the one ant terribly far in my kitchen last night, but served as a good reminder for me.
Why are we suffocating in our sin and self pity when the Savior is waiting on us to call out to Him?
Why, Church, have we settled for mediocrity, merely bearing one another? We were created for fellowship yet we continue to live like the aggravating ants, only serving self.
May we strive to live out the life we were created for, working as ants who work together rather than settling for living as aggravaged ants.
Christ comes and meets us "at just the right time" in all situations, especially when we ask Him to pull us out of the sin that suffocates us.