How Ants Reflect Us in the Church

Have you ever felt like you are not doing enough in church because of your more behind-the-scenes or quiet position in the ministry that you are serving in? Seeing that some roles such as worship leaders, evangelists, and cell group leaders tend to be more prominent and front-facing, it might be easy to compare ourselves to them and for feelings of doubts, inadequacy, and questions of self-worth to run rife in our minds. Be it at church or the marketplace, we have roles that serve important purposes no matter how small these positions seem to be. However, we might idolise certain roles more than the others. It would be crucial that we spend some time to ponder about the reasons that we looked up to these roles and the reasons that we are serving. Sometimes, we could be influenced by the view of the world which portrays status and power to be a form of achievement to chase after and we would be significant if we hold certain positions. Through God’s creation, I will be writing to illustrate a different lens in regards to our significance. 

 So, you may ask “how are you gonna illustrate a different lens through the writing of creation?” Well, I noticed that we are not the only ones who have various roles in various communities. For instance, we might observe that within some polymorphic ant species such as Carebara diversa, different ants have distinct roles to ensure the survival of their colony. Some play the role of workers (minors) which forage for food for the entire colony, some tend to the growing larvae while others serve as soldiers (majors) to protect the colony from intruders. All of these distinct roles are determined by their size once they reach adulthood. The larger ones have bigger heads and mandibles which better aid in the defense and patrol of the colony against intruders while the smaller ones have smaller jaws which aid in delicate tasks such as tending to the larvae. So, can we say that the soldier ants are more crucial than the worker ants because they defend the colony? Or vice versa to say that the workers are more crucial than the soldier ants because food is that key for survival? As such I am reminded of the verse from 1 Corinthian 12:17-18:

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

Soldier ants of Carebara diversa usually have large disproportionate head compared to the smaller workers

If the colony consisted entirely of soldier ants, rearing the larva would be a nearly impossible task for those large mandibles to do such delicate tasks. Although having a colony with entirely worker ants might be possible since the worker ants can also defend the nest. However, it would be less efficient compared to the biting power of the soldier ants. It would have taken a longer time to drive the intruders away and more energy would be expended for the task that they are not specialized in. Regardless of the specific role each ant plays, every individual is vital in the survival of the colony.

Drawing back to the church community; if everyone were to be worship leader, there would be too many directions to follow and we might take years before we decide on the worship direction of the day! A congregation for the worship leader to serve is necessary to fulfil their function of leading people closer to God through worship. Without an AV team serving tirelessly in the back, services will not go as smoothly and the worship team might not even be heard. All this to say, every member of the church is interdependent on one another. 

Regardless of your giftings, big or small in our human lens, know that each of our roles in church is vital. Actions such as encouraging a brother or sister who is feeling down is also an uplifting act since it builds them up and points them to God again. Despite us being different parts of the body, we are still one church helping serve a higher purpose to build each other up and glorify the Lord (1 Thes 5:11). 

If we are serving for our own gain, perhaps it is time to step back and reflect and realign ourselves to see beyond our self-serving tunnel vision. It is for our transgression that Christ was crucified and through his wound that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). It is because of that love He had for us that we can be called one body in Christ. Just as the center of the colony is the queen ant, our core in church should be Christ. Be it worship, student-led ministries or in a CG, our center and heartbeat should be for glorifying Christ (1 Cor 10:31). 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Cor 10:31

Ants working together to bring back food to the colony. Where is our colony?

Outside of all these roles, we have a core mission as Christ-followers which is to make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey everything that Christ has commanded us (Matt 28: 19-20). So let’s see beyond these roles and ourselves to realised the core mission that we have as christians and knowing He had loved us in our weakness and transgression.