The Ant and the Feather

by | Jan 24, 2023 | Worry

“Ah, what is more blessed than to put cares away!” (Gaius Valerius Catullus C. 84–C. 54 B.C.)

One morning I wasted nearly an hour watching a tiny ant carry a huge feather across my back terrace. Several times it was confronted by obstacles in its path and after a momentary pause it would make the necessary detour. At one point the ant had to negotiate a crack in the concrete about 10mm wide. After brief contemplation the ant laid the feather over the crack, walked across it and picked up the feather on the other side then continued on its way.

I was fascinated by the ingenuity of this ant, one of God’s smallest creatures. It served to reinforce the miracle of creation. Here was a minute insect, lacking in size but having amazing strength yet equipped with a brain to reason, explore, discover and overcome. But this ant, like the two-legged co-residents of this planet, also shares human failings.

After some time the ant finally reached its destination – a flower bed at the end of the terrace and a small hole that was the entrance to its underground home. And it was here that the ant finally met its match. How could that large feather possibly fit down that small hole? Of course it couldn’t. So the ant, after all this trouble and exercising great ingenuity, overcoming problems all along the way, just abandoned the feather and went home.

The ant had not thought the problem through before it began its epic journey and in the end the feather was nothing more than a burden. Isn’t life like that! We worry about our family, we worry about money or the lack of it, we worry about work, about where we live, about all sorts of things. These are all burdens – the things we pick up along life’s path and lug them around the obstacles and over the crevasses that life will bring, only to find that at the destination they are useless and we can’t take them with us.

I discovered three things from this incident. Firstly, the time spent watching this ant was not wasted. Life is a learning experience and that ant instructed me in the futility of worry. Secondly, God places much emphasis on the damaging effects of worry and we would do well to heed the warnings contained in His Word. Thirdly, just suppose I hadn’t noticed the ant and had trodden on it…..But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you’

Don’t tell me that worry doesn’t do any good. I know better. The things I worry about never happen.

Pastor Ron Clarke


The Ant and the Feather