Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Anteater

I'm fascinated by anteaters.  There's something about that extra-long nose that is unique and quirky and, of course, the fact that they like ants and termites is strange to me as well.  This big guy is a resident of the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida.  I watched he and his family of anteaters slip around the edges of the large fenced-in area they inhabit.  This one is a Giant Anteater (certainly larger than anteaters I'd previously seen) and he's a native of South America.

Not only is his nose extra-long, but his sticky tongue adds another two feet to the depth he can stick his nose into things.  He pokes his probing proboscis into ant and termite nests and scoops up thousands of the little suckers at a time, therefore it's not surprising that he often consumes 30,000 in one day.  I say, "Go to it!"  I am not a fan of either ants or termites.

God has surely created some unusual and even comical-looking creatures in His world.  The variety He's made available for us to enjoy is almost endless.  Beyond that wonderful truth, I find an interesting spiritual message in the anatomy of the anteater -- the fact that he's forever sticking his nose and long tongue into things.  Now, we know that is his job and the way he feeds himself, but how about we human beings?  It's not our job to be sticking our noses into things and it's not how we're suppose to feed ourselves.

There are some people who seem to want to stick their noses and tongues into all sorts of things that do not concern them.  I like what Shakespeare says in Henry IV, "Enter Rumour, painted full of tongues."  We could almost say Rumour is also full of noses since some people seem to have a knack for sniffing out rumor and then passing it on with their tongues -- regardless of whether it's true or not.

There's a lot written in scripture about the tongue.  As James points out to us, "The tongue is a small part of the body [at least in humans], but it makes great boasts.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body...." 3:5. 

There's a really humorous verse in Proverbs 26:17 that speaks of a nosy person meddling in someone else's business.  Use your imagination to visualize this one:  "Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own."  Ouch!  Let's make it a habit to steer clear of meddling.

I like the online quote that reads, "Oh, I didn't tell you?  Then it must be none of your business."  That might sound a bit rude and I would never actually say that to a person, but when you get right down to it - the message in that quote has a lot of truth in it.  There's a verse in 1 Timothy 5 that talks about idle women who became "gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to."  No doubt we're all guilty of saying "things we ought not to" on occasion, but we should ask God to help us guard our tongues (and our noses) and mind our own business. 

I have discovered that the best thing to do when I hear a rumor or some derogatory or disturbing information about someone, rather than turn around and repeat that news to some other person, I should take it to God and speak with Him about it.  He knows all about the situation and has the best interest of that person in His heart.  We can pour out all of our thoughts on the subject to Him and that information will go no further.  If we'll make a habit of always speaking to Him about a matter first, we'll be able to keep our nose clean and our tongue fire-free (:

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