The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Perseverance
The Lost Art of Stick-to-it-ivity
Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
Ants. . . coneys. . . locusts. . . lizards. What do they have in common, and why did the wise man (named Agur in 30:1) group them together? For one thing, they are all small and often overlooked. Yet even the tiniest of God’s creatures have big lessons to teach us. Ants prepare for the future, coneys survive in hostile environments, locusts fly in swarms, and lizards were caught and then placed in the palace to find and eat bugs and insects. Perhaps the central fact is simply that these creatures accomplish great feats without the benefit of any other earthly advantage save their own God-imparted wisdom. Despite their small size, they accomplish huge feats. They are small but smart.
Ants are singled out because they overcome their small size by working together to prepare for the future. No excuses here. Just teamwork in the hot summer days to lay up food for the cold winter to come. Coneys are rock-badgers who thrive among the rocks of the wilderness. Few animals dare to venture where the coneys call home. Most of us have seen pictures of huge swarms of locusts darkening the skies as they prepare to descend on a field to strip it bare. One locust could never do the job, but because they move “in ranks,” there is nothing left when they are finished. Lizards may be harmless pets but they also serve the king’s purpose. The lizard goes where others never enter-not even with bribes or force of arms.
Taken together, these four examples suggest several important lessons: First, even the tiniest creatures have a purpose in God’s plan. Although we may not personally appreciate locusts or lizards, they have a purpose no less than we do. This is part of God’s providence that extends to the tiniest details of life. Second, since we all have limitations of one kind or another, success comes to those who discover what they can do, and then do it. Some of us aren’t even as “successful” as the ants and the lizards because we focus on what we can’t do instead of what we can. Third, just be yourself and you’ll turn out all right. Let the ants be ants; the lizards, lizards; the snakes, snakes; and the hippos, hippos. Can you imagine a huge hippopotamus trying to sneak unseen into a king’s palace? It’s not likely to work. But when you need a huge, lumbering animal to cavort in the water, you won’t call a lizard either. A hippo is what you need.
Be yourself and do what God has called you to do. Just keep on doing it day in and day out. That’s what perseverance is all about.
Lord, give me the grace to keep on doing what You called me to do. And save me from the folly of making excuses for not doing my job today. Amen.
Name one positive character quality associated with ants, coneys, locusts, and lizards. Now rate yourself in each one of those qualities.
Where do you most need perseverance right now?
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