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Remember the Ants and the Lizards

In today’s fast-paced life, there are choices to be made–especially in how a family makes use of its time. While the summer months were once a time to catch your breath and take a vacation, they’re now a time for camps and sporting events.
As summer turns to fall, the hectic back-to-school schedule resumes. Again, a family is faced with choices of how to make use of its time. Of all the things we can afford to put off (yes, even sporting events!), the one thing we cannot afford to put off is the one thing needful—time with our God and Savior Jesus in His Word.

Our children grow up so fast. It seems as though one day we are bringing them home from the hospital and the next we are dropping them off for their first day of college. Christian parents and grandparents have such a small window of time to lay a solid, Scriptural foundation for the children that we need to make the most of the time God gives us with them!
In Proverbs 30:24-28 the divinely-inspired writer gives four examples of “small but exceedingly wise” creatures in God’s creation who can teach us a thing or two, including the importance of Christian education.
Let’s examine two of these creatures.

First the ant: “The ants are a people not strong, yet they provide food in the summer” (Proverbs 30:25).
Though we may not give a great deal of attention to ants unless they are infesting our homes, they are busy and hard workers. Working together, they make the most of their time, storing up food in the summer so they are prepared for the lean months that lie ahead.

If you have children living at home right now, you are experiencing the “summer months” of their lives. Now is the time to provide that faith-producing, soul-searching food of God’s Word. Now is the time to share with them the one thing needful–the Holy Scriptures which are “able to make [them] wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

For our children the storm clouds of adulthood are looming on the horizon. All too soon they will leave the relative safety of home, having to make important decisions that will affect them materially and—more importantly—spiritually.
May God help us learn from the ants to provide spiritual food for our children now, in the safety of their “summer months” at home with mom and dad.

Another Example!

Another example given us is that of the lizard. Those small creatures seem to be everywhere–under rocks, climbing trees and walls, and they are even able to make it into homes. The writer says, “The lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.” The lizard was familiar not only in common homes, but it also found refuge in Solomon’s palace in Jerusalem.
What can be learned from these small but exceedingly wise creatures of God?

Well, consider how easy it is to overlook or neglect the spiritual needs of our little ones–whether it be going to church and Sunday School or having devotions at home and praying together.

The disciples of Jesus certainly struggled with this. One day a group of parents brought their children to Jesus in hopes that He would lay His hands on their little ones. But we are told that the disciples “rebuked them” (Mark 10:14). Apparently the disciples did not think that the Master should be bothered by the little children.

They could not have been more wrong! Mark records that Jesus was “indignant” (think, ‘outraged’ or even ‘angry’) at this. “Let the little children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14, ESV).
As lizards made their way into Solomon’s palace, little children also enter the kingdom of God.

Think of that, dear reader—our little ones have been redeemed by Jesus! He shed His blood on the cross to save them from their sins too—just as He shed His blood for our “big people” sins. Through the water and Word of Holy Baptism, God brought those little ones into His kingdom. They are now subjects of the King of kings!

By His amazing grace, He has brought them into His palace and wants them to live there with Him forever! “And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them” (Mark 10:16).

As school resumes and our schedules get busy, may we never get too busy for Jesus and His eternally important Word–especially for our families! In that connection, remember the illustrations of the ant and the lizard!