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There Is No 'I' In A Team of Ants

Cooperation Productivity Church Health/Growth

Source: "Stalking the Mighty Ant" by Edward. O. Wilson, originally published on DISCOVERY, March '90, and condensed in READER'S DIGEST, July '90, pp. 139-142

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-06-26

Scripture: Ephesians 4:16 ; Proverbs 6:6

Author: Edward. O. Wilson
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ILLUSTRATION

Myrmecology. It's the study of ants. And a fascinating study it is. Says one myrmecologist, "Acting together, ants are among the dominant forces of our terrestrial environment." Individually equipped with unique strengths and capabilities, they work together to accomplish seemingly impossible feats.
 
Worker ants are built for suicidal dedication. Space in their body saved by the reduction or elimination of reproductive organs is partly filled by biological weapons. In the most extreme know case, workers of a Malaysian species of carpenter ants function as walking bombs. Huge poison-filled glands run the entire length of their body. In a fight they rupture their own body wall, spraying the poison over their adversaries; at the same time, other glands release pheromones to summon nest mates to the fray. Each species of ant has its own distinctive combination of such weaponry and communicative signals. ...
 
Army ants, particularly the swarm raider of Central and South America, provide prime examples of ant teamwork. The individuals are large, about a quarter-inch long, and the colonies contain between 170,000 and 700,000 workers. In the early morning, thousands of workers pour out of the bivouacs, forming a solid marching phalanx, up to 45 feet or more across and three to six feet in depth, that proceeds outward at the rate of a foot a minute. The army sweeps almost all prey before it--tarantulas, scorpions, other ants and even an occasional snake or lizard. ...
 
How has something so small become so astonishingly successful and important? The ant's major advantage appears to be social organization. The operational unit is not the individual but the entire colony.

APPLICATION

Is it any wonder that the writer of Proverbs asks us to "consider the ant?" What if every member of a local church worked together with that kind of teamwork? And what if all of the churches in the world combined their efforts? Can you imagine the impact we could have if we moved and operated as one? With Christ as our Head, shouldn't it be said of us that, "the operational unit is not the individual but the entire Church"?

"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!" (Proverbs 6:6).

"He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love" (Ephesians 4:16).

 Illustration Exchange

Let's Get All Gung Ho

Unity Passion Cooperation

Source: WHY YOU SAY IT by Webb Garrison, p. 126

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-02-14

Author: Webb Garrison
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ILLUSTRATION

Are you gung ho for sports? For some hobby? For Jesus? You know what's meant by the phrase--enthusiastic, excited, energetic. But why do we say it?

A few Europeans managed to get into China as soon as westerners began to be tolerated. All such visitors were awed by the Great Wall and other public works constructed by human labor. Big projects still under way employed vast numbers of coolies Chinese laborers. At an overseer's signal, they shouted "Gung ho!" in unison in order to synchronize movements.

It became more popular in the west when it became a slogan adopted by the U.S. Marines under General E. Carlson in World War II. Less than fully understood, the Chinese phrase for "work together" was applied to actions of enthusiasm.

Webb Garrison, formerly associate dean of Emory University and president of McKendree College, wrote more than 55 books, including Civil War Curiosities and Civil War Trivia and Fact Book before his death in 2000.

APPLICATION

Our churches would be well served to get all gung ho--not just in terms of enthusiasm for ministry and the Gospel, but for the spirit of unity and collaboration, "working together" to accomplish great things for the Lord.

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel" (Philippians 1:27).

Illustration Exchange

What Could Happen If We Worked Together?

Cooperation Church Health/Growth Problem Solving

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Brandon Park | Date Posted: 2013-01-10

Author: Brandon Park
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ILLUSTRATION

In Bruno, Nebraska -- one farming community demonstrated what a group of people can do when working together.  In 1981, Herman Ostry and his wife, Donna, bought a farm a half mile outside of Bruno, Nebraska (a small community sixty miles west of Omaha). 

The property had a creek and came with a barn built in the 1920's. The barn floor was always wet and muddy. When the creek flooded in 1988, the barn ended up with 29 inches of water covering the floor. That was the last straw. Ostry needed to move it to higher ground. He contacted a building company and was discouraged by the bid. 

One night around the table, Ostry commented that if they had enough people they could pick the barn up and move it to higher ground.  Everyone laughed.  A few days later, Ostry's son Mike showed his father some calculations.  He had counted the individual boards and timbers in the barn and estimated that the barn weighed approximately 16640 lbs.  He also estimated that a steel grid needed to move the barn would add another 3,150 lbs. bringing the total weight to just under 10 tons. He calculated that it would take around 350 people with each person lifting 56 lbs. to move the barn. 

The town of Bruno, Nebraska was planning its centennial celebration in late July of 1988.  Herman and Mike presented their barn moving idea to the committee. The committee decided to make it part of their celebration. 

So, On July 30, 1988, shortly before 11 am, a quick test lift was successfully made. Then, as local television cameras and 4,000 people from eleven states watched, 350 people moved the barn 115 feet south and 6 feet higher up a gentle slope and set it on its new foundations!  

Absolutely incredible! 

You can watch the YouTube clip by clicking link to source above.

APPLICATION

If 350 people can move a barn -- imagine what could happen to the Kingdom of God if all of us, as His people, began working together.  None of us is as smart or as strong as all of us.  

It's been said that the word TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More -- let's be a church that doesn't just move barns -- but moves mountains!

Clapping Together

Cooperation Spiritual Gifts Inspiration

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-10-30

Scripture: Ephesians 4:16

Author: Tim Hansel
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Winning the War of the Worlds

Cooperation Fellowship Spiritual Gifts

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-10-29

Author: L. Vlasov and D. Trifonov
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Un-harmonious Musical Geniuses

Unity Relationships Cooperation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-07-26

Scripture: Colossians 3:14

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Dads Get A Bad Rap

Fatherhood Parenting Cooperation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-06-17

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Playing To Win

Unity Competition Cooperation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-06-11

Author: Herbert G. Hand, "Imitating Jesus Series: I Want t
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The Playground Fence

Pride Cooperation Legalism

Contributed By: David Holwick | Date Posted: 2011-03-14

Scripture: Ezra 6:21 ; John 4:9

Author: David Holwick
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"The Moscow Rules"

Satan Spiritual Warfare Submission

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-12-29

Scripture: James 4:7 ; 2 Corinthians 2:11

Author: Neal Pollard
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