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Lessons from Nature



by Bobbie Joe Eaton, Baptist Health Corbin Chaplain

I look forward to spring time and summer for several reasons. One of the reasons is the anticipation of planting a vegetable garden. My father and I can hardly wait until the frost has passed adn we can get the seed in the ground. We then look forward to a time of harvesst and the pleasure of fresh garden vegetables. But, it is the in-between time that we can learn so much from nature. This article will go in a couple different directions, but each direction will have to do with some tremendous truths we can learn from Mother Nature.

I am amazed that it is possible to place seeds int he ground; they will remain dormant or inactive until conditions are right for germination. The purpose of a seed is reproduction. When the seed is planted at the right depth, and the right amount of water, oxygen, and proper temperature are in place, the seed coat breaks open and root emerges. I think that is astonishing.

As I think about sowing and reaping I am reminded of a wonderful parable in the Bible from Matthew 13. Jesus was a master storyteller and he would use a parable to explain the mysteries of life. A parable has been described as "a heavenly story with an earthly meaning." Believers have the task of a sower. A sower reaches into the seed bag and gets an ample handful of seed and scatters that seed all over the field. That is exactly what we are to do with the word of God. We are to sow the seeds of his Word in the hearts of people. We are to sow plentifully in order to reap bountifully. It all begins with a seed-sowing process.

In the process of planting a garden, my attention was drawn to a large number of ants who had built a home at the edge of our garden. Usually when we think of ants we think of "Raid" or the Orkin man. Proverbs chapter six tells us that we are to "consider her (the ant) ways." There is a tremendous lesson to be learned from those little ants. I heard about a lady who called the Emergency Room and told the nurse her child had eaten several ants while playing outside, should she bring her in. The nurse assured her that the ants would not kill her daughter and she would be ok. The mother went on to say that she had given the child some ant poison to kill the ants. The nurse said, maybe you should get her on down here. But, seriously, there are spiritual lessons to be learned from the ant.

A few years ago I purchased an ant colony. I was excited to get it set up and watch the ants work. In the kit I received were a few "special ants". I decided to add some of the ants in my backyard with this group. This was a colossal error on my part. During the night there was evidently a major battle going on between the ants from my yard and the ants I received in the mail. The short amount of time that I had the special ants was of great interest and insight.  They all had a particular job to do.  Their activity and work ethic was something to behold.  In their colony there seemed to be their own particular language and ways of communicating with one another.  I observed, as they would tap one another with their antennae.  It was like Onstar communication.

The lesson of communication, their priority to find food, and the anticipation of the future has taught me a lesson about nature from these little fellows.

I look forward to the time of harvest and the pleasure of eating fresh vegetables.  I am also grateful for the lessons I have learned from planting, growing, and reaping that will help me in my Christian life, reaching people for Jesus.  But, when it comes to eating chocolate covered ants, not this farmer!