Meerkats

For years these cute, cuddly looking animals have captivated people.  From shows like Animal Planet’s Meerkat Manor to characters like Timon on The Lion King, people just like meerkats.  Besides their cute appearance, meerkats are very fascinating animals.  Why?  Because there are few animals that work together as well as meerkats.

Meerkats live in groups, called mobs, ranging from 20-50 members.  Each meerkat is given an important responsibility.  Some meercats will stay in their burrows with the young to feed and protect them.  Even the female meerkats that did not give birth are capable of producing milk for the babies.  Most times these females will go all day without eating in order to fulfill this responsibility.  Every day the mob will choose different females to rotate into this role.

Outside of the burrows, most of the meerkats will be looking around for food.  They will eat insects, lizards, birds, fruit, and even scorpions.  In fact, the adults will teach their young how to eat scorpions by biting off the scorpion’s tail and then letting the baby figure things out.  While most the meerkats are looking for food, there will be a couple of meerkats occupying the most important role in the mob.  These meerkats are the sentries, the lookouts.  All day long their responsibility is to look around for signs of danger.  These sentries will call out to the entire mob at the first sign of danger and all of them will rush into the safety of their burrows.  There are even reports of meerkat sentries sounding the alarm when an airplane flies overhead, obviously thinking it is a bird.  The meerkats have a very sophisticated communication system.  Meerkats are able to make different noises to indicate to the group what type of predator is coming and even the direction it is coming from.  Today scientists still don’t fully understand how they do this.

Typically when I write articles about animals I like to talk about how they prove the existence of God.  Not this time.  While it’s true that the teamwork of the meerkats points to an intelligent Creator, there is another application here.  How well do we work together in our families and congregations?  What makes the meerkat so special is their selfless teamwork, hard labor, and dedication.  Oh how much better life would be if we would take up these valiant attributes.  Unfortunately, families and congregations are often comprised of selfishness, laziness, and apathy.  A change needs to be made, but are you willing to commit to such a change.

Each individual meerkat is not all that special by itself, but when we look at the entire mob as a whole, they are incredible.  It’s amazing how seamlessly the meerkats work together.  As individuals, we too are not all that special.  However, when we are willing to work together, only God knows the limits of what we can do.  This week let’s keep the wise words of Solomon in our hearts and strive to work as a team.  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up….  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 11).

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