Over the years these cute, cuddly looking animals have captivated people. From shows like Animal Planet’s Meerkat Manor to characters like Timon in The Lion King, people just like meerkats. Besides their cute appearance and fun demeanor, meerkats are actually 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 meerkats 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 simply 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 prepare their young in scorpion hunting by first biting off the scorpion’s tail and then letting the baby figure things out.
While most the meerkats hunt for food, there are 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. With this signal, the whole mob 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 also have a very sophisticated communication system. Meerkats are able to make different noises so the group knows what type of predator is coming and even the direction it is coming from. Today scientists still don’t fully understand how they do communicate this so precisely.
It’s wonderful how well the entire meerkat mob works as a family. Sure there are little spats here and there, but at the end of the day, they all work together to keep everyone safe.
The church could certainly learn from these meerkats. In the church, we need selfless workers. We need dedicated workers. We need people who understand their valued talents and roles. We need to understand how vital unity and teamwork is. Perhaps more than anything, we need to come together to protect each other from the enemy.
Let’s remember Paul’s important word: “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ…If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired…Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 15-18, 27)
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.