I once thought all these (self-righteous works) were so very important, but now I consider them worthless (KJV reads dung) because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ. - Philippians 3:7-8
Generally, dung beetles don’t get a lot of respect. They usually don’t get noticed by anyone not playing around in a cow pad. However, in tropical climes they can be extremely numerous and busy workers. In 1973, a guy called Jo Anderson recorded the action as it happened at a small 1.5 kg pile of elephant dung on the African savannah. In two hours, that small pile of dung attracted 16,000 dung beetles of various shapes and sizes. They had eaten and or buried that dung completely in just those two hours.
Some of the larger dung beetles are incredibly strong and can move balls of dung up to 50 times their own weight. Dung beetles can be conveniently divided into three groups: Dwellers, Tunnellers and Rollers.
Dwellers spend as much of their lives as possible digging around inside some sort of dung. They lay their eggs straight into the dung and the larvae live happily eating their way through it.
Generally speaking, dung beetles are good fliers. Tunnelers will fly along until they find a nice fresh cow pad into which they will dive. They then dig beneath the pad and drag as much dung as they like down into the newly-created tunnel.
Rollers are species who make a burrow some way away from the dung they are going to use and then collect small to medium sized lumps of dung to role away from the source and into their burrows.
So, what is the lesson that we can learn from these useful but disgusting creatures? We Christians must examine the things we value and determine whether or not they have any more worth than little rolled up balls of manure. Oh, it’s easy to instantly let our minds think of materialism. We roll our little balls of money. We wallow in our piles of things. But what of pride? What of position? What about our little fiefdoms that we struggle so valiantly to defend, never realizing that they are so much dung? Are we Dwellers? Do we make no attempt to reach out for the better things God has to offer and simply wallow in and eat of Satan’s filth? Are we Tunnelers? Do we try to appear as if we live separate from the world while all the while living immediately under its sway? Or are we Rollers? Do we acknowledge the need to be separate and yet still occasionally roll little balls of worldliness into our lives and into our homes? Make sure that you are truly reaching your full potential and not merely leading a Dung Beetle life.
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