Editorial by Bro. Richard Davis
Hello Faithful Reader. This summer, the residents of Ohio saw record numbers of Cicadas. What is a cicada? I’m glad you asked! A cicada is a large flying insect about the size of your thumb. The type of cicada found in Ohio spends 17 years underground before emerging to mate. The most interesting thing about cicadas is their song, which is unmistakable. Calling it a song may be misleading, though. It is more like a loud, scratchy buzzing. When large numbers are present, it can be almost deafening: You must raise your voice to speak to others right next to you. I’ve lived in Ohio nearly my entire life and have never seen swarms like we had this summer. While driving with the windows up, they could still be heard. There were even car accidents reported to have been caused by swarms of cicadas.
Sometimes little things can be annoying. Trivial things can be distracting. Occasionally, small things can be so loud that they drown out everything else. We read in Song of Solomon 2:15, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” In this scripture, the concern was for the little foxes. Adult foxes can reach and eat the grapes without pulling on the vines, while young foxes would reach up and pull the vines down, tearing them free from the arbor to get the grapes. The small foxes caused the most damage.
In Song of Solomon, we find this warning in the midst of a love letter: A stark admonition in the center of a romance. We find that even in our relationships, the little things can cause the most trouble. Trivial things are often ignored, and our minds are drawn toward what we perceive to be more pressing matters. Our relationships with family, friends, and partners can suffer if small things are left unaddressed. Have you ever had a lone mosquito buzzing around your room at night? It becomes difficult to rest, and there is no peace.
In our relationship with God, we must also take care of the little things. We must take steps to avoid anything that could bring harm to our relationship with Him. In the Old Testament, as the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt, Tobiah began to ridicule them. Nehemiah 4:3, “Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.” He was being sarcastic, but if we don’t build our foundation with God properly, we’ll find that our walls are weak. No one wants to live in a structure that can be easily toppled.
Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
A spiritual house built upon a rock can easily withstand the storms of life, but it’s important to check for termites. As the winds rage and the rain beats upon the roof, we must remember to check in the basement from time to time. Are there any signs of unwanted pests? Do we hear little feet scurrying and see holes in the beams? Is the water rising?
Matthew 10:29-30, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” We learn from this scripture that God cares about the small things. If God keeps track of the mundane, and knows about the little things, then we should, likewise. A tiny spider bite can kill us, or make us very ill, and so with spiritual things, size doesn’t matter. In Paul’s letter to Corinth, he was concerned for the church. 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Satan is subtle; he doesn’t show himself in grand gestures or striking displays. He would like to steal our souls without us even knowing. He will work behind the scenes, and from around corners. I think he would like to stay in the basement, and erode our foundation, little by little. Small things add up; little things become big things. We must be watchful and always on the look-out for the little foxes. Benjamin Franklin said, “Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.”
The cicadas of life can buzz to the point we can’t hear anything, least of all, the Word of God. Our congregation, our families, and our social life can all suffer if the little things go unchecked. Luke: 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” God cares about us (1 Peter 5:7), our hairs are numbered (Luke 12:7), and He has good things planned for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). We only need be aware that in the flower of our salvation, it’s often the thorns that can cause the most pain.