Go Watch The Ants


Sermon By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / May 05, 2019


We want to encourage everyone to bring your mom to church on next Sunday's mother's day.


I want to express my thanks those who filled in for me while Jeannie and I enjoyed a two-Sunday break.

Brian Alfred taught a Sunday AM class.  Stephen Flask taught two classes (midweek and Sunday AM).

And Vic Rossi preached two sermons - - both of them quite excellent - - two very timely lessons.


As I announced recently, I want to begin a new sermon series soon - - beginning in June.

I am debating on the title for this series - - either , The Way Of Salvation or Mere Christianity.

The focus of this series will be an attempt to give a strong and Biblical answer to the most important

question ever pondered by mankind:  “How Can I Be Saved?” … “How Can I Become A Christian?”.

I know the summer months often bring many attractions for travel, recreation and other things,

but I hope all of us will try our best to be here to hear and soak up this series for all its worth.


Jeannie and I really enjoyed our recent get-away.

We “bought the farm”.  Actually we rented a small farm house in Crozier, Virginia for a few days. 

We stayed in The Rosalie, one wing of a two-dwelling house located between Richmond and Charlottesville.

It was actually a real bargain - - basically about the same price as a Red Roof Inn.

It was pet-friendly and even came with a care-taker's German Shepherd (Potus) and several draft horses.

We took in various sights - - Jefferson's Monticello … Madison's Montipelier … Monroe's Highlands

President Tyler's Berkeley Plantation … President Benjamin Harrison's Sherwood Forest Plantation.

The name of the place where we stayed was Clover Hill Farm.

It included a long entryway to a 100 acre farm on a small hill filled with clover.

Other than the care-taker's cottage, we could not see another house.  It was truly idyllic.  So peaceful.


If you've ever traveled to Virginia you know that it is abounds with farms, with most

of them quite large and bordered by white or black fences - - many in beautiful settings.

Everywhere we looked there was a big farm.

Serenity Valley Farm … Woodside Farm … Sugar Magnolia Farm … Bella Grove Farm … Crape Myrtle Farm.

Some of them had cute names, like Whippoorwill FarmTuckahoe (Jefferson's birthplace).

One was called, Root Force Collective Farm and another was called Field of Dreams.

The funniest name we saw was Ant Hill Farm, which leads me to this morning's sermon.


} Open your Bibles to Proverbs chapter six and read from Prov.6:6-11 (New Century Version) |


Go watch the ants, you lazy person.  Watch what they do and be wise. Ants have no commander,

no leader or ruler, but they store up food in the summer and gather their supplies at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you lazy person?  When will you get up from sleeping?

You sleep a little; you take a nap.  You fold your hands and lie down to rest. So you will be as poor as if

you had been robbed (laziness is another joy-robber); you will have as little as if you had been held up.


Sometimes I get accused of being too heavy with my sermons and classes.

We started a new class this past Wednesday on The Fourteen Apostles.

Our introductory lesson was a somewhat thorough discussion that stretched our thinking.

Someone implied that it was making their brain hurt.  That's not always a bad thing.

Pabulum is for babies.  Meat is for the more mature.

I'd like to invite all of you to join us for this new and exciting study (Wednesdays at 6:30pm).  It is going to be rich.

It will not be baby food, but it will help us grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Pet.3:18).

This morning's sermon will not be difficult to comprehend, not in the least.

While I wouldn't call it Gerber's, it will be a simple but very important message that all of us can easily grasp.


Some much-needed insight is provided in this text of Prov.6:6ff.


There is much that we can learn from these little creatures.


The first decade of my life was spent in Pensacola, FL, where I quickly grew to hate ants - -

fire ants in particular - - those tiny little biting ants that could accost you unawares.

One minute you're fine and the next minute you look down and your feet are covered with fire ants.


Jeannie gets upset when ants show up in the kitchen.

One online blogger, a lady named, T.J. Blackman, had written a paragraph that captures Jeannie's sentiment.

Ants typically bring out anger in me.  They scuttle their creepy black bodies across my kitchen counter in what

appears to be a haphazard maze of infiltration and it immediately incites me to squish them while swearing

(yelling) at them to get out.  I admit this is not very tolerant of me but I simply do not appreciate the invasion.


There is something about these little creatures who can be found thriving in almost every terrain on the face of the earth that is quite remarkable.  I say “almost” because I don't think they're found in either the the Arctic or Anarctica.


Think of the a few of the noteworthy qualities possessed by these tiny insects.

They are:  persistent … tireless … hard-working … living nothing undone … brave … unselfish …

cooperative … organized … self-starting … team-players … always planning ahead … etc.


Think of that powerful slogan we learn from the ants.

One for all and all for one (and you thought The Three Musketeers came up with that catchy phrase).  


Consider the interpersonal skills they teach - -

you're not alone … offer to help others … let others help you … there is strength in numbers …

together the impossible can become possible … help others to hold on … each in our own way …

we are all important, every one of us … even alone you can accomplish remarkable feats …

don't let anything block your path … don't run from big obstacles … etc.


Someone has said,

Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.

These little critters don't make excuses - - they just get the job done!


Here are six practical lessons we learn from the ant farm.



Sometimes we wear ourselves out trying to do too much by ourselves.

They way ants instinctively appear to call for helpers is a lesson in and of itself.


Recently Tom Brady (the star quarterback for the New England Patriots) was asked why he

was willing to play for less money that some other not-as-good NFL quarterbacks.  In a culture

where most players and their agents attempt to hold a club hostage for every dollar they can milk,

I found his answer to be quite refreshing:  I like to play with other good players around me.


The apostle Paul was a juggernaut (powerhouse) disciple, be he was always eager to recruit helpers.  cf. Romans 16.


The approach that reasons, “if you want something done, do it yourself”, is actually short-sighted.

It deprives others from learning things from you while simultaneously building a strong sense of camaraderie.


Sam Kechline was a faithful member of the Ashtabula church who excelled at asking others to visit others with him.


Have you ever known someone who seemed to relish the role of being a perpetual roadblock?

How many times have we seen a good idea stillborn because of a handful of naysayers?


We've all seen a team of ants struggling to tote a half-slice of bread who run into a throng of others ant.

If you watched carefully, you'd likely witness the throng suddenly give way and made a wide berth for the bread crew.



Tenacity is an indispensable virtue.  Persistent is often the driver of success.

This is what the Scriptures calls longsuffering - - a willingness to hang tough when the going gets rough.

Ants tackle insurmountable odds and they very often succeed - - primarily because of their staying power.



Often passages of Scripture astound us with their insights, conveying knowledge in times of intellectual ignorance.

Like Job's declaration that the earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7), spoken long before the science of astronomy.

Prov.6:7 states a truth about the ants long before the birth of specialized studies like zoology and myrmecology.

(Ants) have no chief officer or ruler.


Yes, I know the church has elders and deacons and a preacher (as the Bible teaches), but we don't need

them to direct us to get busy.  When Shan & Trudy visit the sick they don't need to get the elder's permission.


Ant colonies do have “queen” ants but their role is to lay eggs, not to bark out orders.

Again, this is a lesson from the God-instilled instincts of insects - - when there is work to do, get busy doing it.

Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might / Eccl.9:10



Ants are not short-sighted creatures.  They anticipate the future.

Many of us remember reading Aesop's fable about The Grasshopper And The Ant.

Life comes in seasons - - sometimes dry as a bone and others time sopping wet - - we must weather the storms.


Those of you who have fire-places or wood-burners know that you don't wait till October to stockpile.

One of the great challenges of life is learning to plan for the future while living vibrantly in the present tense.



Ants forage when they get a strong signal from others that the field is ripe for harvest.

However, when the don't get the signal, they don't waste their energy.

We might translate this behavior by saying that ants have learned the secret of “going with the flow”.


This is not giving permission to dump the old paths, but it is warning about re-assessing our current culture.

Things that used to work really well don't always work so well today.


Some churches spend thousands of dollars on Newspaper ads, often with little or no return.

I have dear friends who were converted to Christ because someone knocked on the door and asked them if they

would like to have a home-Bible study.  Today, door-knocking is almost viewed with the same disdain as robo-calls.


The need to share the gospel remains firm, but the manner in which we try to do it may need to be adjusted.

This is part of what excites me about the opportunities we're discussing regarding a Family Life center.

It proposes an outside-the-box methodology for getting others to come to us.

In case you haven't noticed the younger crowd is keen on being physically fit.

What a novel idea:  to minister to others about their soul while they work on their body.


This has been a rather light-hearted lesson, but it is packed with some very legitimate and sacred principles.

Have you ever wondered how some portions of Scripture made the final cut?

The Bible is filled with truths that come to us in all shapes and sizes.  Remember the words of Jesus (Mt.4:4) - -

Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

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