Little but wise, exceedingly
The four creatures categorized as wise in Proverbs 30:24 are first referred to as "little upon the earth." This is to say they are seemingly insignificant when examining the temporal world. However, they are considered to be exceeding wise, or wise beyond all measure. These four creatures we are about to examine may not seem to matter much in this temporal existence, but they have a wisdom that allows them to operate beyond what is expected of them.
We might not feel like we matter much in life sometimes. Our jobs may not be all that exciting. Our day-to-day operations seem to go with the ebb and flow. However, when we pursue the Word of God and relationship with Jesus Christ, we attain an understanding that allows us to operate beyond what is expected of us. We can do great things for the Kingdom of God if we follow the examples of these four creatures:
The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; (v. 25)
We see what the expectation of the ant is right from the start. They are not strong, even as a group. However, they are diligent to prepare their meat in the summer. Why? Because they know winter is coming. They are prepared for the future and that is what keeps them going. It's what allows them to survive.
All too often, we try to make it on our own strength in life, only to find out that we don't have the power to do it all by ourselves. When we try to live life by our own means, we enter into trials unprepared and mistakes get made. If we will be like the ant, though, and prepare our lives now while their is opportunity, we'll be ready for the trials in life.
How we prepare: By reading and examining the Word of God. By praying daily and fasting regularly. This is our meat that we store up so we can have the sustenance to make it through the trials that will come.
The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; (v. 26)
If the ant isn't strong the, conie is downright helpless. They are susceptible to all forms of predators. While they may not have much they can defend themselves, they know where they can run to find shelter. They make their homes in the rocks. Notice, it isn't just a special hiding place, but a dwelling place for them.
Many times, we treat God as a place we retreat to when life gets hard. He's not our permanent dwelling place, however, and that must change. We can't dwell in the world of finance, earthly pleasures and pursuits. We must dwell in God and allow Him to always dwell in us. When trouble comes our way, we will have a consistent understanding of where our help is because we dwell there rather than visiting.
How to dwell: By building your life around the concepts of God's Word and the leading of God's Spirit through prayer and fasting. It's one thing to store up those things, but to center your life around them makes the difference in where you stand in the face of tribulation.
The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; (v.27)
The locusts are categorized by having no allegiance to anyone. This may cause some to pause because we know we must align ourselves with God. Remember, though, that the first part of these verses is the temporal qualifier. The locusts aren't caught up with following cultural trends or political movements. They are focused on one thing: harvesting. Locusts go out and harvest crops, often to the detriment of those in the world. They do so as a united front.
We can't get swept up with the latest cultural trends, political battles or anything else that ties us to this world. Our allegiance isn't with our countries or our culture. It's with Christ Almighty. It's under His banner we must unify ourselves and go forth to reap the harvest. This harvesting may mess up the world a bit, but that's okay because we aren't tied to their way of thinking or believing.
How to harvest: By connecting with like-minded believers and committing to putting the cause of Christ first in your hearts and lives. Consider giving up certain worldly pursuits, even those that seem harmless but take you away from God's Kingdom and purpose. Let your fellowship build your confidence as you continue to spread out across your community.
The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces. (v.28)
Of all the four creatures, the spider is the only one without a perceived negative qualifier. She takes hold of things with her hands. This is to say that she is active in her pursuits and hands-on in life. She is also smart enough to know where to dwell. She doesn't live out in the world where there is danger and destruction. She lives in the safest place possible: the kings' palaces.
We need to be hands-on Christians in this day. There are people who are hurting and in need of both temporal and spiritual sustenance and we can provide it to them. It's going to take a commitment to action and a commitment of time on our parts. However, in our commitments, we cannot neglect our need to return to the house of the Lord. Missions are great and community involvement is imperative. However, if we forget to get filled up, we risk getting dried out. We must seek the refreshment and restoration of regular communion with God in church.
How to take hold while not getting tired out: By intentionally scheduling your involvements each week. Write out who you are going to reach for and what activities you are going to do. Then, write down how much time you will commit to prayer, fasting and the Word along with church and fellowship. If their is an imbalance either way, work on your schedule so you aren't pulled either way.
In lieu of an activation this week, do the above How-To sections. They are relatively simple to get started, but commit to sticking with them and watch your life turn from seemingly insignificant into something special.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.