A brother-to-be

Jason sat behind the wheel of his black GMC Sierra feeling a sense of disbelief as he monitored the progress of an ant clinging desperately to his windshield. The small insect was being buffeted by the air passing over the window as the large pickup traveled at 45 miles per hour down the straight stretch of country road, yet it had not yet been blown away. The ant had probably fallen off a branch of the crabapple tree that had stretched over the vehicle at the building site he had just visited.

While the ant’s determination to hold on was amazing, Jason was more interested and even perplexed by the fact that its plight had triggered a wave of compassion within himself. It was just an ant, after all, right?

When he had first seen it, his initial reaction was to turn on the wiper blades and knock it off. But he unexpectedly felt sorry for it and thought that the wind would knock it off anyway. But it didn’t. The little ant somehow managed to hang on. When Jason reached a straight stretch where he would normally speed up to fifty or so, he held back surprisingly reluctant to see it go. He had once read about ants, their colonies and habits, and remembered that if an ant somehow wandered or was placed in another colony’s territory, the offending ant would be quickly and ruthlessly dispatched by “guards” of the rival ant colony. So even if he didn’t smash it with the windshield, the little ant was doomed anyway should it blow away and land intact anywhere but its own home.

Jason couldn’t believe he was feeling this way… about an insect. But a still, small voice seemed to speak in his mind, “But what about Randy?”

Randy… an hourly employee that worked for Jason on a lot of his new buildings. Jason rarely got to know his employees very well. In fact, Randy had been with his construction firm for months, yet Jason knew almost nothing about him, except where he lived… sort of. He knew he lived in a run-down house outside of town but either had never seen his house, or had not realized it was Randy’s at the time.

Actually, Jason knew that his employees generally viewed him as something of a snob and maybe even a jerk, but it didn’t bother him much. It was his company after all, and he said what he wanted the way he wanted, not much caring about the pressure he put on his workers or their families’ lives. Jason suddenly realized that he viewed his employees more-or-less as disinterestedly as he normally viewed the insects on the ground.

Jason was abruptly aware of the glaring contradiction in his life. Jason professed to be a Christian. He was (usually) a faithful attender, a tither, and even served as a leader on committees in the church. Yet, there was an appalling lack of compassion and even of interest in other people… especially if those people were somehow “beneath him.”

He absentmindedly followed the road, his eyes glazing over for a moment as all these thoughts ran through his mind. He focused his vision back on the windshield and saw that the ant had finally blown off… beyond recall. And he thought about employees who had come and gone through his life, neighbors he had had, and business associates with whom he no longer had reason to remain in contact. Did he know where they stood with God? Could he say that he had ever thought about them as anything other than a means to an end for his business and himself? Had he ever really thought about their lives, their pain, or their need for the hope that he publicly professed to possess? Not really. And so many were gone, blown out of his life by the winds of change… beyond recall, never once hearing from Jason the news that God loved them enough to send His Son to die for them.

Jason suddenly pulled off to the side of the road. It was the strangest thing, and he could hardly believe it about himself, but he began to weep. There was a terrible brokenness in his heart and life… a weight of regret and shame, all because of a single ant struggling to cling to life on the face of his windshield.

“Lord,” he prayed. “I confess to You that I’ve been proud and calloused. I’ve been selfish and… stupid. If anyone has a right to look upon another as just a bug, it would be You looking at me. I mean, You are God! But You loved me and Your Son died for me.”

A car drove past but Jason ignored it. “Please forgive me for… my pride… and the fact that I didn’t share eternal life with people.” Grief flooded over him as he uttered this. The thought became almost unbearable that he had had chances to share the message of God’s love with people and opportunities to, in a sense, help spiritually save lives. He didn’t even notice that the car that had passed by, an old run down, Chevy sedan, had stopped, pulling a few yards in front of his truck.

The still, small voice seemed to speak again… “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV).

There was a tapping at the window and Jason looked up. It was Randy. His weathered face, so baked by exposure to the sun, made him look far older than thirty. Jason turned away, wiped his eyes, and looked back again, rolling his window down.

“I was headin’ over to the other site and I seen you sittin’ here. Is something wrong?” Randy asked, his eyes showing that he was both puzzled and concerned by finding Jason this way.

Jason almost laughed. How do you tell someone that you were crying over an ant? “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think so… at least not now.” He looked at Randy hard.

“Randy, why don’t we go ahead and take lunch right now. You and I can go over to Bob’s; I’ll buy,” he said. Surprise washed over Randy’s face and he paused a brief moment.

“Uh… sure!” he said. “You’re the boss.” Randy headed back to his car, got in, and pulled out.

Jason followed and smiled. “I don’t have to tell him the part about the ant, do I, Lord?” he prayed aloud. “The main thing is that I start treating him like he’s something more than a bug; he’s a man… a brother-to-be and Jesus died for him. But if You’ll open the door, God, I’ll sure tell him about Your Son.”

And he did.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV).

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A brother-to-be

By Thom Mollohan


Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 22 years. He is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at pastorthom@pathwaygallipolis.com.