The wisdom of little things.

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.

Proverbs 30:24–28, NIV

Usually when we want models, we set before us men and women of God who have blazed a path to glory—the heroes of the faith who have touched their times and influenced the course of history. But Agur, a little-known figure in the Old Testament and source of the proverbs above, gives a different view.

Agur “models down.” He chooses four creatures that are small, and though he doesn’t say it, they are not particularly appealing. There are not many people who have pet ants. Not many take coneys out for a walk on a leash. Find a locust or a lizard in your home, and you usually stomp it to death. Yet Agur turns to these simple creatures, small and unattractive, to give us wisdom for the living of our days.

What Ants Know About Time

Agur says the ant has little strength, yet it stores up its food in the summer. The ant works today for tomorrow. Putting it another way, the ant knows what time it is in life.

A lot of people don’t know. They live in the past. They are the people who, when they travel, are so concerned about taking photos to show when they get home that they forget to pay attention to the sights in front of them. And when they do get home, they coerce their friends into evenings of bouncy home videos. It seems they enjoy the picture but not the journey. They drive through life looking in a rearview mirror.

Others live only in ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: