Chuck Terrill: Ant lives matter
I moved a small brush pile the other day.
We have quite a few trees, and every time the wind blows, I get to pick up downed branches. I throw them in a pile and when the pile gets big enough, I haul it off.
I needed to mow following the rains we received last week, so I picked up branches. The pile was fairly big, so I took my pitch fork and loaded them in the truck. There was one small log that was crawling with ants. They came rushing out from under the bark. They panicked, and didn’t seem to know which way to go, so they scattered in every direction.
In the time of their calamity, they did remember to do something very important. Each one of the escaping ants had an egg held high over its head. Even in painful distress, they remembered to do something important: protect the children.
Every ant had an egg. Maybe ants have emergency preparation drills where they learn how to grab the closest egg. They know how to hold it with their front two legs, up in the air, and run with the other four. The most natural thing would be to just run. But my ants didn’t do that. They remembered the unborn.
Wherever the ants ended up, each one watched over an egg that most certainly did not belong to them. When the infant egg hatched, maybe the adoptive parent told it its history, and trained it to grab an egg and run. Eventually, the homeless ants might find each other down in the grass, recolonize, and relocate their community. The lives of the saved would continue. Living. Reproducing. Taking care of themselves. Taking care of each other.
Ant culture may be on a higher plain than human culture. Ants know what is most important — protecting the unborn; fostering and adopting children; living in community; taking care of each other; and rescuing the perishing. They seem to know innately that putting other lives first is the right thing to do.
We live in communities where lives are at great risk. I don’t have to describe our situation to you, because you already know. If you see a kid in trouble, latch onto them. Some kids need to be fostered. Others need to be adopted. All need to be esteemed, encouraged and disciplined. The unborn need to be protected. Teen suicide rates must dramatically decrease. So many are deeply wounded and depressed. Our esteem for human life must surpass the compassion of an ant.
Jesus left heaven and came to earth to lift up little children. I am one of them. He adopted me. He saved me. He raised me. He disciplined me. He called me to do the same with other children. He has called you, too.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14).
Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.