A Lesson from the Grasshopper and the Ant

A third-grade teacher was telling her class the story of the grasshopper and the ant. “The ant works hard all summer and stores up plenty of food,” she said. “The grasshopper, however, plays all summer and does no work. Then winter comes. The grasshopper begins to starve because he has no food. He desperately goes to the ant and begs him to share his food. Now boys and girls,” the teacher continued, “your job is to write the ending to the story.”

One little boy named Mark raised his hand and asked, “Teacher, may I draw a picture?” The teacher replied, “Yes, Mark, if you like you may draw something, but first you must write an ending to the story.”

That day most of the students in the class wrote that the ant shared his food with the grasshopper and they both happily survived the winter. A few children said that the ant refused to share his food because it was the lazy grasshopper’s own fault that he had not prepared for the winter. So, in the end, the ant lived, but the grasshopper died.

Mark had a unique ending to his story, however. He wrote, “So the ant gave all of his food to the grasshopper. The grasshopper then lived through the winter, but the ant died because he had given away all that he had.” Then at the bottom of the page, Mark had drawn his picture: three crosses on a hill.

Folks, I think young Mark understood the heart of the Christian message, because the ant in his story is very much like the man who died on a cross on top of a hill almost 2000 years ago. Just as the ant made the ultimate sacrifice to save the life of the grasshopper, Jesus Christ did the same for us. He gave up His own life so that we might live. When He went to the cross, Jesus suffered both physical and spiritual death so that we could be spared the horrors of eternal death.

Yet, isn’t there something inherently unjust about what happens in Mark’s version of the story? It doesn’t seem fair that the lazy grasshopper would have plenty to eat during the winter, while the hard working ant would starve! Yet, neither Mark’s story nor the Biblical gospel is about “justice” or “fairness.” Mark’s parable and the New Testament both have another theme: grace. It is the Lord’s grace, His mercy and love, which caused Jesus Christ to give His life for ours. The Apostle Paul explains it this way, “Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

If fairness and justice were the only concerns, Mark’s grasshopper would have died that winter and we would be lost and without hope. It is “amazing grace” which provides life for both the grasshopper and for us. Have you experienced that grace in your life? If so, you have a reason to celebrate what the Lord has done for you. If not, I urge you to turn to Jesus Christ, put your trust in Him alone, and receive the gift of salvation which He offers. We don’t deserve this gift, but we won’t make it without it.
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Pastor Dan Erickson