I’m glad no one walked up on us that afternoon. It must have been a funny looking sight. There we were, four adults, squatting and staring at two tiny creatures. I wasn’t wearing my glasses; so I had to get on my knees and lean really close to watch. It was the antics of two tiny ants that captured our attention. We stopped to cool off and drink some water when Joy spotted the two ants carrying a giant grasshopper. They were fascinating to watch. Without a sound, hand signals or a director they were taking that hopper home to eat. One ant was in the front and one was in the back. They would lift and move the hopper about an inch. Then stop. Regroup. Pickup the grasshopper and move it a little farther. During their break, they would circle the grasshopper as if asking themselves, “Is there an easier way to do this?” Then as if on cue, they would lift the hopper to move another inch. Each contributed and they accomplished what neither could have done as competitors.
I’m writing this on the porch. The humming birds are very active today. They are getting ready to migrate, so they’re trying to fill-up before they go. Five little birds are ferociously fighting over one feeder. I can’t imagine that any of them actually eat very much, because they are too busy fighting to feed.
While I love to watch hummingbirds and hate to stumble onto an anthill, I’ve decided, I want to be like the ant instead of a humming bird. I appreciate and want to replicate the attitude of the ant on many levels, but I’ll only talk about 1 today.
A hummingbird lives a lifestyle that says, “there’s not enough to go around.” Their attitude is much like a person with a poverty mentality. A poverty mentality feeds greed, selfishness, fear and isolation.
A Tug of War is Going On!
Even good people, people like Sunday School teachers, pastors and leaders can get very territorial. “This is my room. This is my coffee pot. This is my pew. This is my parking spot. This is my idea. This is my ministry. My ministry is the most important in the church.” Sounds like a competitive and territorial hummingbird that wants to keep the best for him self. But that is not the heart of a kingdom builder that wants to please God.
“I have a right,” we say. “I’m entitled to sing songs that I like, when I come to church.” (That’s something I hear from young and old folks.) Grumbling. Fighting. Jealousy. Sounds like an infestation of competitive, territorial humming birds. Better be careful that you’re not one. Oh, yeah, they look pretty. But their attitude is bad stuff for a believer.
In a culture of competition, of dog eat dog, of getting ahead, keeping up with the Jones; we lose sight of being contributors. Our competition can isolate us and keep us from participating in the fellowship and partnership that is just part of belonging to the family of God.
While ants seem to have a totally different attitude. One that says, “Together we’ll find enough.” Ants are ingenious and diligent and they work together for a common goal. It is a mindset that believers need to embrace.
That working together mindset is found in 1 Corinthians 3:9 nlt “We work together as partners who belong to God….” That means we contribute to someone else’s success and allow people to do the same for us.
I’m convinced everything is better when it is shared, but not for a hummingbird. Burdens are lighter when they are shared. Work gets done quicker and better when it is shared. Creativity is multiplied when it is shared. Laughter is more enjoyable when it is shared.
Moving from a mindset of competition to that of contribution causes us to:
- See needs.
- Love more.
- Give more.
- And opens your heart to receive more from God so you have more to give.
- Expands your reach.
- Expands your effectiveness.
- Expands your joy. (Acts 20:35 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’)
You can change your attitude.
Changing your attitude begins with changing your actions. Stop being a hoarder and give. What do you have to contribute? Who needs your contribution? You’ve figured out the what and the who…when is the big question. Don’t procrastinate—today’s a good day to start.