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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace


The Death Jar


Dad, can you help us? Mom’s scared. She screamed, and she almost dropped the jar when she saw an ant on her finger!”


Although I love teaching science, I have never been too keen on crawling things. Several years ago, however, we put together an art farm, and it was the most amazing thing! We watched tiny eggs hatch into little transparent babies, and then looked on in wonder as they grew and joined the ranks of their hard-working kinsmen in running their glass-encased colony. They, of course, were completely oblivious to the world outside the jar—our world. They had no idea how much God was teaching us through them. Their diligence just came naturally, along with their sense of responsibility for one another, and their energy for life.


So this time around, just a few weeks ago, I was determined to put together another ant farm for my little boys who had not yet had the experience.


And I could’ve done it without help, if those ants hadn’t been so…well…ant-like.


Once safely enclosed, however, we eagerly looked on as our busy little science projects began re-building a new colony. Over time, tunnels were dug and little rooms began to show through the tunnels. We carefully fed the ants their honey and water, and cared for them just like our science book told us to. Since I considered myself a “veteran ant-farmer,” I was confident that we would enjoy our project for many weeks.


Gradually, though, we began to notice a new room built amidst the tunnels. It appeared to be some sort of burial ground. After further observation, we noticed that our ants were moving a bit slower, and were methodically carrying more and more dead colony members to this one room. They stacked the dead, one on top of the other, and filled one room. They then began preparing another.


“Maybe we’re not feeding them enough, Mom,” Jonah suggested. “…or maybe they aren’t getting enough air.”


But no…I knew what the problem was…our little ants had lost their zest for life, their reason for living. Their little lives were meaningless without a leader. Though we had filled the jar almost to the top with ants, and even a few babies, we had failed to capture a queen. Our worker ants had no one to work for—nothing to live for, no purpose to fulfill.


Just caring for each other was meaningless, without the hope of new life to carry on the colony.


Our ant farm had actually become only a death jar to the living ones inside. Their colony was only an empty shell—a pretense at life, a meaningless effort to survive. But it was hopeless, pointless, and eventually, all of the ants died, while carrying their comrades to the death rooms.


While sitting once again in our living room among 12 of our neighborhood kids, I began to think about that death jar. Over the past few weeks, we have been teaching these kids and teens about Joseph’s life—how terrible things happened to him, yet how God meant all of it for good. Joseph worked hard during his lifetime—you see, he had Someone to work for—a purpose for living, a zest for life. Even when thrust into captivity, Joseph refused to live in a death jar—through family problems, lies, misunderstandings, and prison time, Joseph diligently fought off bitterness and anger, and sought his Master, his Creator. In the midst of it all, Joseph had the Hope to carry on.


Upon finishing our Bible study, Ken asked the neighbor kids,


“If you feel sure that you have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I want you to raise your hand…”


I watched as every hand but one flew up eagerly. As I looked from one to the other, I marveled at the goodness of God! I praised Him as I was able to remember each one’s salvation experience over the past year or so.


My eyes then fell to that one—the one who did not claim Christ as her Savior. My heart went out to her as I remembered the first time I met her—one of the very first to come to our Bible study over a year ago. Faithfully she comes every week. And it’s true, she and her family live in a death jar—a large family, nice, hardworking, busy…yet with nothing to live for, no One to serve. I commit to praying for her and her family—as long as it takes!



Do you live in a death jar?




As a man comes, so he departs, and what does he gain,
since he toils for the wind?
All his days he eats in darkness,
With great frustration, affliction and anger…Eccl. 5:16-17



Or do you have Someone to live for?



…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10



Copyright © 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com

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