Wise tips from four unusual suspects
This article will focus in Proverbs 30:24-28. The unusual suspects are;
I’ll mainly read from the KJV and MSG.
There are four small creatures, wisest of the wise they are— ants—frail as they are, get plenty of food in for the winter; marmots—vulnerable as they are, manage to arrange for rock-solid homes; locusts—leaderless insects, yet they strip the field like an army regiment; lizards—easy enough to catch, but they sneak past vigilant palace guards. (Proverbs 30:24-28 MSG)
When looking at this scripture we see a commonality between each of the creatures. The two commonalities outside of them having four or more legs, is that they are considerably wise and yet small. Meaning that they each have been given a significantly disadvantage. Likewise in our own lives we all have been given disadvantages as well. Unlike the creatures, most of our disadvantages aren’t easy to see with the naked eye. Regardless how large or small your issues maybe or the length of time you’ve been battling, I am confident that this text will help you tremendously.
Last night I started my company meeting with this text. On every company conference call we start with a few scriptures and see how God wants us to apply it to the business and our approach with clients etc. This text is a gem for those who run their own businesses or merely anyone who runs their own life from day to day.
If you feel like an Ant at times, have no fear. Feeling like an Ant can mean that you feel inferior to others or perhaps you feel as though you don’t quite measure up to your competition. Well here is what the bible says about the Ant and what makes it so wise.
ants—frail as they are, get plenty of food in for the winter
The key to the Ant is that knowing it’s weakness in size, it understands the keys to the following;
Preparing. When you know that you are at a disadvantage you become aware of the challenge. For example, when I was in school I wasn’t always the best biology student. As a matter of fact I loathed biology. I’ve never taken a liking to memorizing information that seemed incoherent or obsolete. I knew in high school I wanted nothing to do with biology, so I truly didn’t see a reason to take the class let alone show any interest. During my high school years I attended an academy, within the academy I was apart of the ACE segment. ACE was an acronym that stood for Architecture Construction & Engineering. So you can probably see my initial perspective. Well, like the ant, I later had to study more than the usual student, I had to prepare longer or even harder. Preparing harder or longer is exactly what the ant does. Why?? Because it is unable to gather during the winter months. The next key to the ant is their ability to preserve. In real estate the market is fairly cyclical and housing sales tend to be seasonal. In your business there are trends of when the market is most likely to prosper and when it is most likely to belly up. For example, you may run a small manufacture where you make hair care products. The ingredients of your products are all natural ingredients. Since they are truly natural with little to no preservatives your product is authentic and a cut above your competition. There comes however one challenge, they expire sooner and like fruit, the prices fluctuate. Well like the ant there is a time when you can purchase these “inputs/ingredients” cheap (maybe in season) and then preserve (prepare) for the down season when your prices and shipments are to rise. The ant as small as it may appear, is a master in Preparation and Preservation. Any business that is meant to last, understands the importance of this concept, including any person on this earth. (If you haven’t began saving for retirement, now would be a good time) In economics and financial investments, the wealthiest people amount to wealth because they have good defense and decent offense. Offense is your ability to earn an income, while defense is your ability to retain your earning. Never forget, that defense wins championships…. offense just looks good, flashy and captivating during the regular season. Persevere your wealth.
Teamwork. In the event that a fellow ant is unable to complete the task or the object is too heavy to lift. With their strength will work together and carry it further together than individually…
Depending on the version of your bible you may have rock bager, conies, or even marmots. The just of the metaphor are all the same. For the simplicity we will call them conies. Here is what we can learn from the conies;
marmots—vulnerable as they are, manage to arrange for rock-solid homes
Leverage. It appears that even the conie is aware of it’s handicap. Likewise either in life or in business you should be aware of what your strengths are and also your weakness. The world tells many to build on their strengths and negate your weakness. I certainly disagree, what is the point of building up something great in knowing that the weak spot of the structure has never been developed or protected. This is where leverage comes into play, leverage is utilizing other peoples talents. Yesterday on the weekly call I gave the example of a corporation who was skilled in customer retention and developing widgets. Now a widget an be anything such as, a car, computer or even coca-cola bottles. But the company has one primary issue that hurts them; reaching the new customer, marketing. So in this case what a smart executive team would do is one of three things. Option A: Hire a marketing company for consulting and training, to eventually train their employees. Option B: Hire and contract all marketing needs through a third party. Option C: Acquire or Merge a marketing company, and ensure your ability to reach the potential clients. Anyway you spin it, you are still leveraging skills of another. Likewise with your life or your business, you will not be the best at everything. So you want to lean or rest in another’s strength where you are weak and build and help other where you are strong. After all your gift must flow from the abundance of your heart… not the poverty of it.
Able. We are immediately informed on how vulnerable the conie is and yet it has the ability to build a house on a solid foundation. Being able to do something even when your strength is pushed to the limits is impressive. But let’s not forget the most important part in the fact that in order to cover it’s vulnerability it builds into another’s strength. Likewise Jesus is the rock that all should be built upon. In doing so your foundation is strong while you without it are merely weak and vulnerable.
Team work & communication. (self explanatory)
I really like the locust a lot, primary because the locust probably has the most disadvantages than all the other four, and yet the locust with its bands have actually taken down great city walls and kingdoms.
More on locusts
One thing about locust other than their size, is that they rarely come together. However when they do unite, they are extremely dangerous. The second thing that makes me wonder about them a lot is that they don’t have the ability to fly as strong as most insects. Locust actually jump forward in the wind which propels them. So you can see outside of it’s size the locust has tons of disadvantages.
locusts—leaderless insects, yet they strip the field like an army regiment
In the bible locust are also referred to a great army that blocks out the sun.
Resourceful. The locust true strength comes from that of leveraging its other companions. If we only get one wisdom nugget it should be that two is always better than one. The next resource is the wind. If a swarm of locust travels better and much further in the wind, that means that they would have to be led where they’re going. This is why I believe that the bible calls them the Lord’s army.
Timing/Anticipation. In order to be propelled in the wind, that means that a swarm would need to fellowship together prior to take off. That would also mean that the group would have to anticipate their moment to preform at the best of their ability. Although I have never caught a stream of wind, I would suggest that it is similar to catching a wave’s opportunity. If that is accurate then it is much like have good timing and faith to arise at the opportune time. Seize your opportunity.
Persistent. If you have ever witness a swarm of locust attacking you will notice that they are resilient. They stop at nothing! Until the target or adversary is made into a dunghill. Ironically after the task or mission is complete the locust go their separate ways until another opportunity arise. It reminds me of our United States Armed Forces during the 60’s. They would fight viciously together against a common enemy, yet on their own turf as civilians they would fight tooth and nail against each other. Either by segregation or discrimination by race, sex or background.
Teamwork. (seems to be a common theme)
Proactive. Notice that the scripture says that locust are insects that have no “king” or “leader”. This means that they attack together as one unit. Not putting one person over the other in significance. Must insects that are group like ants or bees have a primary leader who is the direction for the unit or company. This means that for a beehive to operate successfully the worker bees must receive assignment or direction from the Queen Bee. Well…. the locust are what I call proactive, meaning that they do not need to be told from another what to do. When you are working on a project, account or simply living with someone. Do you have to be told what to do? Or are you someone who acts similar to the locust and you’re aware of what needs to be done, and so you “just do it”?
The lizard or spider pending on your translation is very self explanatory.
lizards—easy enough to catch, but they sneak past vigilant palace guards.
The lizard is easy catch if you have ever studied or observed them. They tend to sun bath and upon you getting close lay stiffly on the log or rock that you find them on. Here are a few things that we can learn from the lizard;
Surprise. When most people think of surprise they think of spooking someone or sneaking behind somebody. That’s not exactly what I mean by surprise. This is more like the element of surprise. The characteristic of the lizard that is given to us is that they are easy to catch. Meaning that they’re no big deal to obtain. However we later see that they are able to sneak past vigilant guards. A vigilant guard is one who is extremely careful, attentive and observant. And I would believe that in order to be a guard in the kingdom you had to be very skilled. The lizard has the ability to elude and yet appear to be “easy to catch”. Meaning that the lizard would be someone that keeps an element of surprise.
Careful. The only way to sneak past a vigilant guard is to be careful. If you have ever seen a lizard sneak out of a cage you will notice that it makes it’s escape almost skillfully and methodology. The lizard moves very slowly and carefully, and if you look closely you will notice that as it’s body moves in slow motion it’s head and eyes are fixed. They never move…. Until a span of ten minutes goes by and you notice that the lizard only moved five steps. Now imagine if you were completely unaware of the lizard… you would of never noticed it was there. Likewise you want to be careful in your execution and follow through your methodology.
As you are taking all of the wisdom from the four creatures, I would like to leave you with one more message from the ant:
You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest
(Proverbs 6:6-11 MSG)