Monday, March 7, 2011

Go Ants! Go Ants! (No, really. Go.)

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Proverbs 6:6 KJV

            Ewww. I hate slugs and snails. And I’m really sick of ants, too. I remember this verse when I’m watering my trees or cutting back morning glory vines. I memorized it in church school, probably as work-ethic indoctrination!
            I grew up in Arizona, where slugs and snails were unheard of until we got bedding plants shipped from California growers. Of course, there were ants. But not in the plague proportions I see in southern California, where I live now. Ants drop on me from the trees, and they climb my ankles. They bite rarely. But I don’t want insects on me!
            After fighting ant invasions in the house, I employed an exterminator. But they don’t “do” snails, so I spend about $50 a year on snail poisons (beer and salt are not the answer). The baits kill the arthropods, but those nasty things can sleep in the soil for up to five years, so wave after wave hatch out, thus needing smushing and poisoning.
            Solomon had a point, though, comparing critters to people. Slugs can’t be bothered with industry: they are parasites that eat desirable plants and destroy seedlings. (They’re also hideous, smelly, and leave slime trails.) And ants, though not known for their IQ, can move mountains by teaming (and teeming) together. When the hose water floods the tree well where they have one of their many colonies, they mobilize the army, and carry the eggs and larvae to higher ground to prevent drowning and preserve their community. Their colonies aerate the soil, their workers pollinate my flowers and fruit, and they don’t bite (much), so I tolerate the yard ants. 
There are four small creatures,
   wisest of the wise they are—
      ants—frail as they are,
   get plenty of food in for the winter;
      marmots—vulnerable as they are,
         manage to arrange for rock-solid homes;
      locusts—leaderless insects,
         yet they strip the field like an army regiment;
      lizards—easy enough to catch,
         but they sneak past vigilant palace guards.
            Proverbs 30:25  says that ants—frail as they are, get plenty of food in for the winter and calls them the wisest of the wise, along with marmots, locusts, and lizards, because they are small, vulnerable, leaderless, and easy to catch. Ah, but they have God-given strengths that make them the best little creatures they can be!
            What are your weaknesses? Ask God how He can turn those weaknesses into strengths. He can turn it around. He loves to surprise us with blessings!

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