Every year when I go to the Men’s Advance, I’ve noticed the same thing.
This thing I’ve noticed is not something about the guys there, or the events, or the teaching, worship or fellowship.
Those are all fine – no, it’s something else.
I know this sounds a bit strange, but bear with me. I am going somewhere with this.
On the path to the dining hall at the conference center, there are a couple of places where there are almost always ants on the sidewalk. Sometimes it appears to be hundreds of black ants, going every which way.
I don’t know if other people notice the ants, but I try to avoid stepping on them. (Even ants deserve a chance to live.) Sometimes, though, it’s virtually impossible to avoid it completely because there are so many of them. You can’t go off the path on one side, because of the bushes, and it’s probably no better walking through the grass, because you can’t see if there are more ants there.
And I haven’t noticed other people going out of their way to avoid the ants either.
So, this weekend we had 80 men, three times a day, going both ways to and from the dining hall, right through the ants. How many dozens or hundreds of ants were crushed over the two days? Yet, every time we went by, the ants were there.
And this isn’t the first time – I remember ants in the same place in years before. On top of that, the conference center is a popular place – there are people there almost every weekend year round, and often all week long in the summer.
So the ants are trampled regularly by possibly thousands of people every year, but they never change. Year after year, two or three times a day or more the same thing happens, but they don’t move their location, change their paths, or alter their schedule.
At times I wish I could say to them, “Watch out! Get off the path, a bunch of guys are coming!” But I know they won’t listen.
They are just ants, of course: we can’t expect much. But aren’t we about the same sometimes as people?
Do we do the same thing over and over again, even if it turns out badly every time, or we get hurt or someone else does as a result?
Do we make no attempt to avoid the injury or even destruction that’s approaching, because we pay no attention to what’s coming?
Are people trying to warn us about consequences of what we’re doing or potential danger, but we won’t listen?
Do we run here and there wrapped up in our own little things, until we suddenly get trampled into the ground, figuratively or literally?
As humans we are so much bigger than the ants that I don’t know if they can even see us well. And by the time we’re close enough for them to see the danger, like a foot coming down on then, it’s probably too late to get out of the way.
And if I wanted to warn them, I don’t know if they can hear us. Even if they can hear they wouldn’t understand me, because I’m sure the ants don’t speak English. We have no basis for communicating.
We are far larger than the ants, and have little in common with them. However, the difference between us and the ants is much less than the difference between us and God. We are finite created beings, and he is the infinite Creator. While we may be thousands of times bigger than ants, God is infinitely larger than we are.
Pick any number to try to express the magnitude of the difference between God and us – millions of times, or billions, quadrillions, 10 to the googolplex power – it’s still much, much more.
What’s the chance of us being able to hear or know the infinite God when we are not even able to communicate with other finite creatures like ants?
But, we’re not God. He can do what we can’t.
From the beginning, He intended to communicate with us, to commune with us, and He created us that way.
In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” so there is something in us that resembles God, some kind of similarity built in to us that gives us a basis for communicating.
Besides that, His Son came to earth, became a man, God in the flesh, and experienced life as one of us.
Speaking about Jesus, Hebrews 5:15 says, ‘For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.’ John 1:14 also says, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’
So, God understands us, not just as the One Who created us, but also from becoming like us.
He made us like Him, and then even made Himself like us. Amazing!
But it also means that we know He knows how and is able to communicate with us.
We as humans can see the mob of hungry men coming down the sidewalk while the ants go about their day to day activity with no clue of the impending danger. In the same way God can see what’s heading our way, impending danger, whether from natural forces or supernatural.
Unlike me, who’s no longer there at the conference center and probably won’t be back for months, God hasn’t left you. I really don’t care too much about the ants: not enough to put in any real effort to save them. But God loves you: enough to make Himself like you, then even die for you. And He did.
If you’re like those ants, wrapped up in yourself and your things, your life, and your way, with no thought of what may happen or the consequences of your actions, you should stop:
Stop going every which way;
Stop being absorbed in your own things and yourself;
Stop living oblivious to impending destruction.
Turn to God. Jesus bridged that infinite divide between us and our Creator. He knows and understands what we go through and what we are, but being both God and man He sees what is coming, when there’s danger, and the best way for us to go.
The ants would be so much better off if they just knew when to get off the sidewalk. Let Jesus do that same thing for you.