My younger sister got an AntWorks set for her birthday earlier this spring. Instead of using sand as the material through which the ants tunnel, AntWorks ant farms use a specially formulated transparent blue gel that the ants both tunnel through and eat. This makes for a far superior ant farm to the messy, sandy ones of yesteryear.

This was the third AntWorks set my family has had over the past few years, but even so the novelty of watching the ants make their tunnels and chambers never wears off. This time around, though, as I watched the ants work, I discovered several lessons I had missed before.

1. “Go to the ant…”

Though not a new lesson, and while somewhat cliché, it’s absolutely true: ants don’t sit around lazily and expect others to do their work. They take initiative and don’t slack on the job.

2. There is no “I” in “ant”

Ants don’t work alone. No one ant digs a tunnel by himself. Rather, worker ants function as a team. As the writer of Ecclesiastes said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

3. Community

The first thing our ants did was tunnel straight down, then carve a large spot out of the gel on the bottom of the container. At any given time during the construction process, there were at least eight or ten ants huddled down there. We think they were taking turns sleeping, but it still reminded me of the need for community!

4. R&R

If our ants really were sleeping on the bottom of the container, there is much we can learn from them about the importance of taking time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. We were not created to be busy nonstop. Rather than being busy, busy, busy all the time, we would do well to remember the example God Himself set for us, when He rested rested after creating the world and everything in it.

5. There is light at the end of the tunnel…literally

As our ants began their first tunnel, they worked straight down toward one of the small LED lights that lights up the AntWorks container. As Christians, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the light of the world.

6. Potential energy

Our ants made one tunnel along the very bottom of the back wall of the container, a number of chambers along the middle of the bottom, and many tunnels all over the front of the container. But they didn’t touch the gel at the back of the container. At least half the gel remained an untouched wilderness, a resource wasted. Had the ants taken advantage of this space, they could have easily doubled the size of their tunnel structure. How often are we like these ants, squandering our resources, not making full use of the assets at our disposal?

7. “Where there is no vision…”

Our AntWorks was populated by thirty worker ants. For about a week they worked industriously, forming tunnels and carving out chambers. Then, they stopped. Worker ants are created to take care of their queen, but alas! Our ants had no queen 🙁 Without the purpose for which they were created, they wasted away and died.  Like these ants, each of us has been created for a purpose.  But in order to fulfill that purpose, we must stay in contact with the One who created us and gave us purpose.  Lose communication with our Lord, and we too will wither away to nothing.

8. ?

What lessons have I missed?  Share in the comments!