Lessons from the Dung Beetle (by Len Winneroski)

For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.. – 1 Corinthians 4:9-13           

Do you ever get frustrated with the crap in this world?  Do you ever feel like you have just been served a poop sandwich after reading the paper or watching the nightly news?  Have you ever been ridiculed for taking a stand for Truth and for your faith in Christ?  If you say yes to any of these questions be greatly encouraged because you are in good company according to the Bible.

The apostle Paul taught us that life will not always be“fair” for the followers of Christ.  Life can be difficult.  Saint Paul said that he was cursed, persecuted, slandered and that he had “become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world.” (1 Corinthians 4:13)

According to the fourth chapter of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul was frustrated because false teachers had infiltrated the church in Corinth and were adding “poop” to the gospel message.  They were confusing the believers in Corinth and were challenging the foundational teaching that the apostle Paul had given them.

As I thought about this I could not help thinking about the dung beetle. God must have been in a playful mood when He made this strange creature.  This little guy’s purpose in life is to roll, bury and eat poop! According to the Wikipedia:

“Dung beetles eat dung excreted by herbivores and omnivores, and prefer that produced by the former. Many of them also feed on mushrooms and decayingleaves and fruits. One type living in South America, Deltochilum valgum, is a carnivore preying upon millipedes. Those that eat dung do not need to eat or drink anything else, because the dung provides all the necessary nutrients.

Most dung beetles search for dung using their sensitive sense of smell. Some of the smaller species simply attach themselves to the dung-providers to wait for their reward. After capturing the dung, a dung beetle will roll it, following a straight line despite all obstacles. Sometimes dung beetles will try to steal the dung ball from another beetle, so the dung beetles have to move rapidly away from a dung pile once they have rolled their ball to prevent it from being stolen. Dung beetles can roll up to 50 times their weight. Male Onthophagus taurus beetles can pull 1,141 times their own body weight: the equivalent of an average person pulling six double-decker buses full of people.”1

So next time that you feel crapped on take a lesson from the dung beetle and just roll the poop away and bury it.  Remember that God is merciful and doesn’t make mistakes like we do. Even dung beetles have a tremendously important function in this world. For instance these little poop bugs save the U.S. cattle industry $380 million annually by burying cow crap, which improves the nutrient recycling and soil structure and prevents the spread of disease.

Don’t take matters into your own hands. Join the apostle Paul and ask God for patience and wisdom and lean into the Scriptures:

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.- 1 Corinthians 4:4-5

Dear Lord, forgive us when we take matters into our own hands and make ourselves judge and jury and condemn others whom you died on the Cross to save.  Help us to rise above the stench of sin and the pain in this world and to lean into you.  For you alone are the Creator of all things, including men and dung beetles.  To you alone be the glory and honor and praise for ever, and ever!

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dung_beetle

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