"An Inside Perspective"

March 2015


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I love the winter, though it sure can get old! By this time of the year, it just seems like the cold is going to last for-ev-er! It's only February 17th and the first day of spring is still thirty-two days away! Needless to say, June-bug and I have perused through all of the 2015 spring seed catalogs numerous times, and yes, we already placed our yearly spring order. I have discovered afresh that boredom begets repetition in its quest for purpose.

Inside the Greenhouse, where we spend the winter, almost all of the plants are dormant. They are in the “slow-roll mode”, as we like to call it. There is one exception: our geraniums never lose a beat and flower all winter long. Well, when June-bug and I get to work, in order to stay busy, we do a little spot watering, then we slay a few bugs, occasionally crop a few leaves that don't really need it, and finally for me, it is time for prayer and Bible reading. June-bug then settles in for a nap in his “spot” and I myself have even been known to nod off in the serenity of my “spot.”

During the winter season, I have about three hours a day to myself in the back of the Greenhouse in an area which we have dubbed “the chapel”. In the back of my mind, I know the hustle and bustle of spring, summer, and fall is right around the corner, and so I treasure this time and it is precious to me. There is a wonderful peaceful silence which is permeated only by the Presence of the Lord as I lay all things before Him.

The floor of the Greenhouse is made of dirt, except for the walkways, and as such, the ants high-tail it inside for the winter also. They have their purpose and one of them is to entertain June-bug and me for the winter. We feed them daily and watch, even study, how they go about their business. We know where all their holes are and by lunch time their scouts are out looking for their daily bread. I am not sure if it is possible to train ants, but at the very least, we have them on a schedule.

Quite unlike the plants, ants are not dormant. In fact, they are ever-serving and protecting the queen without whom they could not propagate. They serve over a huge unseen kingdom that is all underground. For their entire lifetime ants are consumed with a kingdom purpose. They are one body; they move with one mindset and are accomplishing the queen's will in all things and at all times. Nothing is done through selfish ambition.

My main observation concerning the ants is that they do nothing by themselves; on the contrary, the many work as a unit accomplishing the army’s one purpose. We watch in awe as they complete tremendous tasks as a group that could never be done as individuals. Seemingly, they are in competition with one another to see who can get the most done, but really they are not. They seem to take joy in helping one another. No sooner do they see their fellow ant struggling and they are over there like white on rice to help. To this day, I have never ever seen them fighting with one another.

I imagine that right about now you might be thinking, "My stars, Philip must really be bored if he is contemplating the dormancy of plants and the unity of ants!" To some degree I suppose you are right, but I offer that the Lord is always speaking and we should always be listening.

It is written, “Go to the ant thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise...” (Proverbs 6:6)

When plants are dormant they just stay the same, they are not growing, nor are they dying. No matter how much you may feed, water or prune them, they just stay the same. Honestly, it irks me a bit! Dormancy is also the tendency of a believer with a flesh-satiated life. We all know that the full belly demands a nap, right? It is so easy to stay home in “slow-roll mode”, perhaps rationalizing to ourselves, "I'll get going again in the spring."

So, may I ask you, has dormancy crept into your walk while the geranium-like believers all around you are flowering all winter long? Be honest, as they silently challenge your spiritual lollygagging, does it irk you a bit?

Unlike dormant plants, Christians, as an army of “spiritual ants”, can accomplish tremendous tasks together that they could never get done alone. Are you quick to help your fellows when you see them struggling? Do you help with joy, or are you busy fighting over your own selfish ambitions? Beloved, let us never be found fighting one another, but be quick to serve, protect and propagate (evangelize) for our Lord. We are serving the Almighty King over His huge unseen Kingdom! Our lives must be consumed with Kingdom purpose as one Body, with one mindset, all the while accomplishing the Lord's will.

Who knows if the Lord didn't send those ants into the Greenhouse for such a time as this! Choose you this day whom you will imitate---the dormant plants or the amazing ants! The Lord has ways of stirring us up and He is not beyond putting ants in your...