Today’s readings in Deuteronomy and John 2 remind me of an old children’s story I am sure we are all familiar with – that of the Grasshopper and the Ant. Remember how the grasshopper went through life playing, eating anything he could without a thought for anyone else and whether they might be hungry. The Ant spent his life in toil, preparing for what lies ahead. When winter came the Grasshopper had nothing left on which to live and went to the ant seeking help, but it was too late. He died.
The grasshopper is a curious creature. He is a loner who often hangs out in large groups, stripping the land of all vegetation, creating hardship for other living creatures. Though in a large group, he is not concerned about the welfare of others, concerned only about his own comfort and how much he can get before the others gobble it up. He puts nothing aside for the cold hard months ahead and dies with the first frost.
The Ant is a social insect. His lot is one of unceasing hard work, searching for and gathering food for his colony. He spends his entire life going long distances in search of food for others, and then he carries huge loads of whatever he finds back to his nest. He doesn’t ruin everything in his path, but rather, he looks for the good stuff that will be best used to sustain his family in the cruel months ahead. If need be, an ant will even sacrifice himself to protect the other members of his colony. What a truly selfless creature.
What kind of creatures are we? Have we lived lives worthy of the gifts God has given us, looking out for others, sharing what we have; or have we spent our lives in reckless consumption, taking everything we can get our hands on for our own immediate use. By our deeds, have we shown that we love one another? Have we stored up those things, those sacrifices and simple acts of kindness, that will be remembered when we reach that judgement day we will all face at a time most likely not of our own choosing? What will we be remembered as – selfish creatures, or sharers always working for the good of others? Personally, I’d rather be an ant.