I’ve been listening to an inspiring 4-part series on natural wisdom by Juan Vereecken and Roberto Bautista. In this post, I’m going to summarize some of the things that I learned about the wisdom related to ants. If you understand Spanish and want to listen to the messages yourself, they can be downloaded here.
“Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer (…) ”
(Proverbs 30:24, 25 – NIV)
Ants are wise because they store up their food in the summer so they’ll have enough in the winter. What is the principle here? Preparation. They get ready for the winter that eventually will come, before it comes. By preparing ourselves for the “winters” that will surely come along, we’re going to be secure.
Now there are things that we know they’ll come and when they’ll come, such as starting a new job, getting into the university, having a child (for some couples), etc. Besides, there are things we know they’ll come but we don’t know when, such as the loss of a loved one. There are still things that we don’t even know whether they’ll come, such as a rough financial situation, a disease, etc.The question is: what can we do before those things happen? The ants give us the answer: we ought to prepare ourselves beforehand. How can we do that? Some of the ways include:
- Establish firm criteria before things happen – Roberto gave as example two criteria he and his wife established in their own life: one is to not start something new in life with debts and the other is when they can’t seem to come to an agreement over any issue, they’ll look for a third-party’s opinion. Other firm criteria he mentions include not marrying a non-christian person, not having sexual intercourse before marriage and so on and so forth.
- Have right expectations toward people and toward life – this one is huge! What disappoints us is not the people or the situations of life, what disappoints us is our expectations toward them. Many people tell their spouse or their friends: “You’ve disappointed me!” In fact, they’ve disappointed themselves because of the high expectations they placed upon others. As tough as it may sound, that’s sheer reality. People get frustrated all the time because they have unreal expectations toward others. What’s worse, the people we love the more are the people who let us down the more, because they are the ones we expect the most from. Therefore let’s learn to have balanced expectations toward people and toward the circumstances of life. We ought to learn to give others the benefit of the doubt and make allowances for their mistakes. This will build up a healthy emotional protection for our lives.
- Eat healthy food and exercise yourself regularly – when you take care of your health by eating appropriately and doing physical exercises, you’re protecting yourself against health problems.
- Save money – it’s important to have a financial reserve to help you when unexpected events come along. Unforeseen things quit being unforeseen when you protect yourself against them in advance.
- Take care of your relationships – both with God and with people – there are people who have never bothered to grow their faith, who never spend quality time with God. The time will come when they’ll need God’s help and, by then, will find themselves in trouble because they have not taken time to develop a steady relationship with God beforehand. How can we avoid that to happen in our lives? By spending daily time with God, praying and reading the Scriptures. In addition, we should take good care of our relationships with other people. Choose wise friends and invest time on them as well! Invest time on your main relationships, your family and friends. But do that in a systematic way! For example: every Friday night you’re going to spend with your spouse; every week you’re going to call your loved ones that live away from you, etc.
This simple message, extracted from the life of ants, is full of wisdom. In the next days, take time to think of how you can better prepare yourself in advance against the winters that will eventually come. Don’t forget that the best time for one to do that is in the summer, when things are well, because when the winter comes, it might be too late to do something about it.