Lessons From A Larva - The Warrior's Journey®

Lessons From A Larva

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Have you ever used one of those moving walkways at an airport? They’re also referred to as autowalks, moving pavements, moving sidewalks, people-movers, and travelators. They are slow-moving conveyors that transport people across a horizontal or inclined plane for short distances.

Now, a person can simply stand on the moving walkway and allow it to do all the work. But if a traveler is in a hurry, perhaps racing to catch a connecting flight, they’re going to walk or run on this conveyor and use it to increase their own speed. In such cases the conveyor and the traveler work as a team to get him where he needs to go. This parallels a traveler using ocean and river currents to propel himself faster than he ever could under his own power.

There’s a strange example of this concept in nature. The larvae of a certain species of gnats, Sciaria militaria, has been known to move as a single, snake-like mass. This long formation of worms may number in the tens of thousands and stretch to more than 30 feet. This phenomenon has been witnessed primarily in Central Europe, where it’s called Pleń by the Polish and Heerwurm by the Germans.

Why do these larvae travel in these long formations? Scientists believe it’s to increase their speed. For, while one level of larvae walks upon the ground, a second level of larvae walks upon the backs of the level beneath them. Theoretically, this should double their speed – like walking upon a moving walkway.

Sometimes, when the formation is very large, there may be three, four, or more levels. The more levels there are, the faster the formation moves. The downside on this form of accelerated travel is that each larva will spend time at the bottom of the formation – to provide the “base propulsion.”  If the formation consists of three or four levels, then each larva will travel on top only about 33% to 25% of the time. Most of the time the larva will be at the bottom or somewhere in the middle of the formation.

The upside is that, working together the larvae can travel much faster than as a bunch of individuals. And, since these multi-layered migrations of larvae constitute a life-saving measure, due to lack of food and water, working together is essential to their survival.

There are several lessons that these little creatures provide. For one, they show the benefits of teamwork in order to reach objectives. A synchronized team is greater than the mere sum of its parts. By working harmoniously, a team always accomplishes much more than a bunch of competing individuals.

A second lesson is that, in a team, neither the work nor the credit will be evenly distributed. This is an inevitable outcome.  Some will carry a heavier load (like those larvae at the bottom) than others (like those at the top).

And some will receive greater visibility (like those at the top) while others will go unseen (like those at the bottom). And, because each team member’s talents and abilities are different, some will spend most or all of their time at either the top, the middle, or the bottom. They will not rotate through different positions.

Most members of the team will be behind-the-scenes people. They’ll spend all their time at a lower level. Those at the top will receive greater visibility and attention than their counterparts at the bottom. Therefore, it’s essential that credit and honor be shared with all team members, for they’re all doing their part to move the team forward to reach a common goal.

But there’s a third lesson to be learned from this multi-layered conveyor of traveling larvae. First, we have to ask a question: How in the world did these larvae get the idea of one level traveling on the backs of those beneath them to move the group faster?

Now, I’m not suggesting that engineers got the idea for moving walkways from the Sciaria militaria larvae. But it certainly took some ingenuity to develop the concept of helping people move faster by providing a moving platform for them to walk on. And since the Sciaria militaria larvae have worked out an even more complex system – with three or more levels – to maximize speed, then shouldn’t we be asking, “Who taught these non-thinking larvae to do this? What makes them work as a complex unit?”

There are thousands of such examples of creatures which live in colonies, consisting of different groups providing different essential tasks. But they all work together for the good of the colony. How could such organization and harmony originate among competing creatures?

Doesn’t it strongly suggest that there’s an over-ruling and infinitely wise God who is continually active among His creatures, helping them survive? Jesus certainly suggested this in Matthew 6:25-30. He told us that God is constantly engaged is providing food for birds, clothing for grass, and both for His children. The Creator is deeply interested and engaged in caring for His creatures. And at the very top of His priorities is caring for those He made in His own image.

I once read that there are over 366 commands in Scripture not to fear, worry, be afraid or anxious. It’s for a very good reason that God repeated it so often. It’s because God is zealously and passionately watching over us to protect us, to supply our needs, and to save us and prepare us for heaven.

Now, God still wants us to pray and seek Him. Therefore, He’ll allow problems to come our way – to drive us into His arms. But He does so only because He yearns for our friendship and companionship. But there is no reason to fear anything because God is most decidedly for us. And if God is for us, who or what can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

PRAYER:  Dear Father in heaven, please open my eyes to understand the unfathomable depths of Your love and care for me. Teach me, dear Father, to rest in Your infinite power, love, and wisdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(Information from: https://www.odditycentral.com/animals/plen-when-thousands-of-tiny-larvae-move-as-one-giant-unit.html; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_walkway)

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