By Dr. James C. Denison
President, the Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, Texas
Mosquitoes, spiders and lunch
Raise your hand if you predicted that Spain would defeat the Netherlands in yesterday’s World Cup final. Or a leg, if you’re Paul the Oracle Octopus.
We met Paul in last Friday’s essay, learning that he had correctly predicted the winner in 10 of 11 World Cup matches. Handlers placed mollusks (favorite octopus hors d’oeuvres, as it turns out) in two clear plastic boxes, each of which bore the flag of a competing team. The lid Paul opened was considered to be his choice. On Friday he predicted that Spain would win the World Cup; yesterday he was proven right, again.
Now Paul has thousands of Facebook fans. Reporters have asked if he could predict the end of the financial crisis; stations have offered lucrative television contracts. To the victor goes the spoils.
By contrast, Mani, a parakeet in Singapore, made his World Cup prediction by climbing out of his cage and choosing between two cards bearing the nations’ flags. He picked the Netherlands. The moral of the story is to always go with the octopus over the parakeet when predicting the future.
Goats are also in the news on this animal-friendly Monday. Today’s NPR website tells us about the herd being employed in Los Angeles’ business district to crop a steep hillside city park. Cheaper and more ecological than weed killers or weed wackers, the goats come each year from a farm in San Diego. Alas, an office tower is soon to be built on the land they are now trimming.
Everything God makes has a purpose. Rattlesnakes control rat and mice populations. Spiders trap and eat flies. Flies, in turn, help speed up the decomposition of trash. Mold is used to produce Penicillin. Even mosquitoes, which have killed more humans than all wars combined through malaria and other transmitted diseases, are a necessary food group for bats and some species of birds, and help pollinate plants.
If God has a purpose for mosquitoes, he has a purpose for your life and mine. Consider one of Jesus’ most famous miracles, the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-13). He used a small boy’s even smaller lunch to feed more than 10,000 people (the 5,000 men and their wives and children). He specializes in using little to do a lot—using Noah to save the human race, Moses and his shepherds’ rod to save the Jewish nation, and twelve ordinary men to spark the mightiest spiritual movement in history.
The secret to being used by God is submission. The boy in the miracle could not keep his lunch and give it to Jesus at the same time. He could never have imagined all the ways God would use what he surrendered to him that day. Neither can you predict how God will use your submitted life for his eternal glory.
Have you given your lunch to Jesus yet this morning?
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