Don’t Take 30 Minutes To Kill a Wasp
Written by Pastor Jim Law
Growing up I was blessed with a father who could fix most things and was not afraid to build anything. You would think that some of that skill would rub off on his son, however my interests were elsewhere. From the time I was five until the age of twenty-two, I was on a ball field or in a gymnasium either playing or training for the next game.
Consequently, when it was time to take care of repairs and other life skills, I was woefully deficient. Filled with some regret that I had missed opportunities in my youth, I vowed a vow that I would do my best to pass on some trade, or skill, to my sons.
What do you pass on when you have such a lean resume and you can’t fix anything? Well, as I was thinking about that one day, the thought came to me that I do know how to push a lawn mower, and so with that seed thought our family lawn business was launched about twelve years ago.
This venture has opened many doors for ministry, as well as a steady stream of life lessons for my sons. They have had to face the trials that come with broken equipment, with customers who do not pay for services rendered, with working in the Louisiana summer heat, and with an occasional wasp sting.
It is the last of these mentioned that comes to mind when I think of the importance of staying on task. Wasps abound in south Louisiana, and when my sons were younger, their curiosity and intrigue when they found a wasp nest was fun to watch. A newly discovered wasp nest could shut down work for ten or fifteen minutes in order to see that the execution was carried out thoroughly.
Not only did the demolition of the wasp nest take time, it could be expensive. Early on it was not uncommon for half a canister of wasp spray ($7 per can) to be used on a single nest, when all that is necessary is a brief burst of spray. In an effort to keep them on task, and save a few bucks, I came up with a phrase, “Don’t take 30 minutes to kill a wasp.” Which translated means, “Yes, the wasp nest needs to go, but stay on task for there are more important things that need to be done!”
The writer of Proverbs references the sluggard not only as one who rolls around on his bed (Proverbs 26:14), but also as one who has lots of excuses and distractions, like, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” Really?
All of us have to deal with distractions in life, even future presidents. Some years ago, I read David McCollough’s biography on John Adams and remember smiling at the journal entry of Adams while he was in college, July 21, 1756:
“I am resolved to rise with the sun and to study Scriptures on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, and to study some Latin author the other three mornings. Noons and nights I intend to read English authors…I will rouse up my mind and fix my attention. I will stand collected within myself and think upon what I read and what I see. I will strive with all my soul to be something more than persons who have had less advantages than myself.”
But the next morning he slept until seven and a one-line entry in his journal, “A very rainy day. Dreamed away the time.” Who can’t relate to how our best intentions buckle like a cheap tent to the whims of the moment?
It is one thing to piddle with wasps in the yard, but quite another to loiter in our walk with Jesus Christ. In reading the Scripture, I am challenged by the focus of King David who wrote with determination, “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”(Psalm 27:4)
Or the fixation of the Apostle Paul when he declared, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way,…”(Philippians 3:13-15)
We are by nature drifters. Unless we stay on point, unless we remain focused to seek our Master’s face in all things, we will find ourselves sidetracked and far from making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-17). I’m reminded of that every time I see a wasp nest.