My wife calls me a pest.
I am always walking around the house picking things up, putting things away, organizing… and grumbling about it the whole time. I repeat again and again, “a place for everything and everything in its place”, or, “any job, big or small, do it right or not at all”. But, with two kids in the house I might as well be speaking a foreign language… no one listens… no one cares… but on I go grumbling, preaching, picking, and organizing.
Not only am I a ‘pest’ for all of that… but when someone in the house can’t find their Nintendo DS, socks, or homework, (or even my wife when she misplaces her keys or cell phone)… I simply sit back and smile… and like a pest… ask, “where did you put it? Remember… everything has a place”. Suddenly, everyone wants to hear what I have to say… because I usually know where lost stuff has been left (like the DS is between the sofa cushions, the socks are on the kitchen counter, and the keys are on the front steps).
The bottom line is that we usually call someone a pest who is challenging us with something we ought to be doing (or not doing). My family knows it is better to put things away rather than spend hours searching for lost stuff… but somehow my SAYING it makes me a pest.
Paul too, was considered a pest… still in prison and being accused we hear what his accusers have to say (from Acts 24:5):
We have, in fact, found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
He was simply a pest… going around talking about faith and commitment and sacrifice and change… no one wanted to hear it. Everyone was contented with their way of doing things… even though their lives were desperately starved of truth and peace and joy and fulfillment.
Next time we are about to call someone a pest… let’s listen carefully first to what they have to say. It may just be that they are ‘pesty’ because we haven’t faced a change that we should have.