Last fall I was relaxing on the couch rubbing the tummy of our Golden Doodle puppy. The peaceful moment was shattered by a small but disturbing discovery… he had a few small bugs crawling on his belly… aaaahhhhh… fleas!!!!
Have you ever dealt with fleas? What a pain! What a nightmare! They are impossible to get rid of. Immediately, I washed him, bombed him with flea spray and applied the best over-the-counter product I had… frontline (yeah… like battlefield terminology). Then, I washed everything that little dog ever touched… his bed, our bed, the carpet, our living room furniture. You name it… I bombed the heck out of it.
2 months went by and there was no sign of the little pests, then, in January, it happened again; three small bugs on the little guy’s belly. Aaaaahhhh! The same routine ensued… bombing here, there, and everywhere. I called the vet and asked, “what the heck… the dog has been bombed and frontlined… how could this still be happening”, her reply: “you must have little pockets of them in the house somewhere”.This time, I went over every square foot of the house and cleaned, scrubbed, vaccuumed and applied flea treatments.
Once again, two months went by and I thought we were in the clear… then, to my dismay, I found a flea crawling on the dogs belly again. “That’s it!”, I said, and with a deterimation that made my wife and kids a little nervous… I turned every inch of our home upside down, cleaning, scrubbing, bombing… cleaning, scrubbing, bombing. And to this day… I am happy to say… no flea has dared to show its face on our poor puppy’s belly (or anywhere else!).
What makes fleas (and any of the negative forces in life) so difficult is that they get scattered around to wreak havoc. If they were all in one place you could eradicate them or avoid them. But, no… they have to spread out, scatter and live to torment us another day. If this dynamic works for the evil things of the world: like fleas, rumors, discontent, terrorists, crime waves, and bad attitudes… why can’t it work for good and noble things as well, like: faith, hope, kindness and generosity.
In Acts 8 we read about the first Christians being scattered by the threat of persecution (verse 4):
Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word.
These folks were known for spreading the ‘Good News’ the same way fleas spread to my dog’s belly month after month. They scattered, they hid, and then they spread faith and hope… in a world that was hell-bent on bombing them out. No one has been able to stop it yet. As ‘works in progress’ we have the opportunity to be defined by, and a carrier of, faith, hope, kindness, and generosity.
We are better for it… and so is the world.