When we visited Zambia last year we were surprised by the size of the ant hills. The one pictured above is at least 10 feet tall. It boggles the mind to consider how much effort is required to make a single ant hill. Yet the landscape is littered with ant hills in places.
The ant hills have taught me three lessons.
The first lesson from the ant hill involves God’s faithfulness. God has promised to move mountains for us if we ask in His name. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I’m struggling with impatience as we wait to go to Zambia. I need to be careful not to succumb to doubts. Thoughts such as “no one else is going to support us” or “where will the rest of our support come from” are easy to entertain. But underlying these thoughts is a lack of faith in God’s provision. To overcome these thoughts, I only need to remember that God has already provided three-quarters of our support. In other words, there is one mountain remaining, but God has moved three for us already! My needs are so insignificant that they amount to little more than an ant hill. I am confident that God will move our remaining “ant hill”, just as he has already moved three others (see Matthew 17:20).
The second lesson from the ant hill involves teamwork. It would probably take a single ant decades to make an ant hill. But ants don’t work on their own, they work together. As I prepare for ministry in Zambia I need to keep reminding myself that I’m not doing this on my own. Just as the ant is part of a colony that works together, so our ministry in Zambia will be a team effort. Scores of people are praying and giving in support of our ministry, and together we can accomplish more than any one of us could on our own (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
The third lesson from the ant hill involves the individual’s role in ministry. When we remember that God is the one who moves mountains, and that we work together as part of a team, there is a temptation to sit back and wait for God to move the mountain, or to wait for the rest of the body to do all the work. Once again, the ant hill again provides the answer. How many lazy ants have you seen? Proverbs 6:6-8 puts it this way: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (NIV). The ant hill reminds me that I need to be diligent in the tasks God has set before me (Ephesians 2:10).
I don’t expect to move the ant hill on my own, but by working faithfully at the task God has given me, alongside many others who are also laboring faithfully, I know that God will move our mountain – even if it is only an ant hill!