Isn’t it amazing how little things can get your attention and upset the quality of your life?
My zapper for the television is on the blink and it drives me to distraction trying to land on the right channel. I guess I could always get up and change it manually or buy a new zapper but that would take a lot of the adventure out of life. Anyway, I don’t want to get up to change channels. Can you imagine anyone doing that?
I have to admit, though the zapper is small I’ve been tempted to smash it against the wall or throw it on the floor and stomp on it (I haven’t). Little things. The piercing scream of one tiny mosquito in your bedroom at 3 a.m. in the morning rivets your attention as much as an Al Qaida terrorist would. Now your run of the mill mosquito weighs in at 2 to 2.5 milligrams, and when he sups on you he only drinks about 5 millionths of a liter of blood. You can spare that can’t you?
But that’s a very strategic 5 millionth, as far as I’m concerned. On the scale of actual damage to your life, a mosquito attack probably ranks about 1/100th of 1% on a scale of 100. But he sure causes us to think about him.
Have you noticed that life is often like that? Most days we don’t deal with issues like cancer, family breakups, financial disaster, job loss, or attacks from angry elephants, though all of us will face things like this in the course of our lives (maybe not the elephant attacks).
Still we manage to lose our focus and our joy because we concentrate on the mosquitoes of life” “the idiot that cuts us off in traffic, the lady that’s always gossiping about us at work, and the pastor’s favorite who always gets to sing specials at church and everyone who has ears knows he can’t sing.
Add to these earth-shaking trials others like dirty dishes, crying babies, unpaid bills, a wish for a new car, my team lost again, my wife nagging at me to take out the garbage, etc., etc., etc. ‘Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!’
It’s an old story. God sends a powerful revival to Nineveh through the preaching of Jonah. He really bears down on the doom of the city part but he doesn’t want them to know there is hope of grace. He gets mad because he wants God to kill them instead of saving them.
So after he preaches, he parks himself on a hill overlooking the city, watching, hoping for the worst.
The hot sun weighs on his hard head but overnight a vine or a little tree springs up and next day he has shade. What a blessing to be able to sit in the shade while you pout. Then a little worm comes and feasts on critical parts of his vine, it dies, and he gets even more depressed.
God asks him a question, “What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?” Jonah said, “Plenty of right. It’s made me angry enough to die!”
God drives his point home to his sulking prophet, “What’s this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night. So, why can’t I likewise change what I feel about Nineveh from anger to pleasure, this big city of more than 120,000 childlike people who don’t yet know right from wrong, to say nothing of all the innocent animals?” (The Message)
Are we like Jonah? Of the approximately 6.5 billion people in the world, 1.7 billion have virtually no access to the Gospel. ‘Boy that guy down the road makes me mad! Wonder who the Cowboys are playing this week?’
Probably over a million people die each year of malaria. If things keep on as they are, a horrible percentage of African children will be orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. ‘Ah! Tuna fish sandwiches for lunch again? Doesn’t that woman know anything but tuna fish?’
Let’s let God teach us priorities. There will be those who miss the Lord’s return. You know why?
‘But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; For it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth.’ (Luke 21:34 AMP)
The part that really worries me is that ‘worldly worries’ thing. We guard against drunkenness and self-indulgence, well at least drunkenness–but worldly worries? We all have a hundred each day! We must be careful because we can get so full of these little mosquito bites that we think of nothing else. Let’s look to the Lord and trust Him to take care of these daily things. We all have them. But let’s use our energy on the big issues, things that are really important.