"The Perspective of an Ant" by Pastor A.J. Houseman
In 1998, a great Disney Pixar movie came out, “A Bug’s Life”. Maybe you have seen it…. I was obsessed. Like more than I should be at the age of 9 with a Disney movie about bugs.
The movie is about an ant named Flik. Flik’s ant colony spends its entire summer collecting grain to put on an offering plate to the evil Grasshoppers, then they prepare just enough food for themselves to stay alive for the winter.
They are very busy. They do what ants do and grab a small piece of grain and walk in a single file line to put the grain into storage.
At the very beginning of the movie, a single leaf falls from the tree, and gracefully lands right in front of one of the ants on their worn path. He panics!
He screams, “I’m lost, I’m lost! Where is the line?!”
He is so used to putting one foot in front of the other, following the ant in front of him. You pick the grain, you get in line, you follow the line to the grain storage. Repeat. That is it. That is his life. And this leaf has thrown everything out of balance.
And then of course now the line is backing up. The other ants are scared or getting frustrated that they have stopped. And a leader ant has to come over and guide the entire colony around the leaf and back to the line.
See, the thing about these ants is that their little colony is on a tiny island in the middle of a dried up stream, inside of a larger ecosystem, inside of an acre, inside of a farm, inside of a county, inside of a state…
Do you ever wonder what the perspective of an ant is? Like when you see one in the park, or dare I say, in your kitchen? That the world around them must look huge! Or that they can only see such a small part of the vast vast world in their narrow perspective of grab the grain, follow the ant in front of them to the grain storage in the colony, repeat.
And sometimes we feel like that ant right? The one that is just putting one foot in front of the other and then the littlest thing comes and throws our entire day out of sync.
Today we are wrapping up our time in Ephesians, of seeing ourselves in the story, of this vast expanse of God’s love, the deep deep ocean. And today, our lesson invites us to take a look at perspective. In verse 17 of our Ephesians lesson, we hear the author writing to the community, “do not be foolish but understand what is the will of the Lord.”
The world foolish here is aphron (afrone), without inner perspective, lacking perspective. Much of life is all about perspective. See, to the ant, the leaf falling was detrimental to their day, but to the tree, it was making room for new growth.
I wonder, as we are implored by the lesson in Ephesians to not lack in perspective, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord, I wonder, what is God’s perspective of the world?
We are single humans, living in a small city, a part of a bigger society, inside of an ecosystem, confined to land masses on the planet Earth. But what is the perspective of the Creator of the Universe?
Sometimes we get caught up in our own perspective of being not much different from the ants and a single leaf can disrupt our entire world. We can become foolish and lack perspective. Who has ever had a day like this? Where everything went wrong and it’s all about your woes and how you have been wronged by this day.
Well, I’ve got some news on perspective for you: we are just tiny pieces in the grand scheme of the vast expanse of God’s created world.
This is both humbling and comforting. Humbling because, yeah, We are just a tiny tiny piece of the puzzle, that we are not the center of the universe, and the world will keep on spinning even if a leaf falls in our way.
It’s also extremely comforting, because you know what? It’s super nice to know that the world does not reside on my shoulders! It’s super comforting to know that if a leaf is dropped in my way that there is a community surrounding me to help me around this obstacle.
Perspective, I don’t think we ever really get to know God’s perspective, it might be just a little too big for us to see. But I think we can get a glimpse through scripture of what God wants our perspective to be. Do not be foolish, but understand what is the will of God. What is the will of God?
Scripture points us to some answers. God is a saving God. God is a loving God. God is a God that cared so much to come to our humble perspective as a human, to learn and love alongside us. To care for others.
Where is God’s perspective for the ant lost behind the leaf? He is not alone. He is surrounded by a community. A community that came to his rescue, a community that supports one another, cares for one another, and co-exists together in mutual affection.
If we learn anything from Ephesians it is this: we are a part of a greater story, one embedded in the vast expanse of God’s love, and we are meant to know one another, love one another, and support one another in genuine, honest, caring, relationships. Just as Jesus did, and just as God continues to teach us. Some perspective. Amen.