Ever since I was a little girl I have liked bugs.
Well, not the giant crickets who have just recently packed their bags for warmer climates. Donning their Bermuda shorts, they turned over their house keys to the Asian beetles.
I didn’t witness the exchange so I’m not sure if any money or words of wisdom were given. A tired cricket may have shook his head and muttered under his breath, “Good luck. You’ll need it.” But that’s merely rumor, although I did wage a little war on those noisy crickets who, in my opinion, sing off-key.
The beetles moved in during the harvesting of the soybean fields. They must get a travel discount for large quantities. They never seem to fly solo.
And not the nasty-tempered wasp who stung me earlier this week as I was gathering up the last of the green tomatoes. As I was picking up my bucket of tomatoes, he rudely dive-bombed my hand with his stinger.
No, I prefer the more polite bugs who stay outdoors and live their own lives instead of invading mine. Like the little green leaf bugs who quietly move from place to place. They blend in so efficiently with their environment. I recently met one on my car window. I hadn’t seen one up close since I used to spend the summer months barefoot, observing bugs, and writing their stories.
Of course the lightning bugs who light up summer night skies are one of my favorite bugs. They’re beautiful and efficient at the same time. They have their own built-in lanterns and aren’t afraid to use them. They create light art in the dark summer skies, knowing that it will disappear almost as soon as they create it. Yet its ephemeral nature doesn’t affect their fleeting work. In fact, it makes it all the more precious.
In the fall, one of my favorite creatures is the black and rusty brown caterpillar. They’re called woolly bear caterpillars. They hibernate in the winter under bark and inside logs. In the spring they spin cocoons and become moths. There’s an old legend that the more rusty brown color the caterpillar has, the milder the winter will be. If that’s true, we should have an easier than usual winter.
I counted 10 of the woolly bears recently in a small area near my tomato patch. Thinking they might be hungry, I gave a few of them a ride on my finger over to some tasty looking green leaves. The leaves are literally their bread of life. I want them to be healthy and strong for the upcoming winter.
What we feed on is important no matter if we’re a caterpillar or a human being. Not only what we put into our bodies, but also what we put into our minds and our souls.
If a child grows up in a home where he eats candy as his main diet, he’ll most likely grow up with rotten teeth and other health problems. In the same way, if he’s told that he’s no good, he has rotten self-esteem. He feeds on the belief that he’s not good enough for the rest of his life unless something changes. He might get help through counseling or by meeting a good woman who reassures him that he’s a good person. But unless he meets Jesus, the Bread of Life, and is transformed through faith, he will never be truly satisfied.
After Jesus feeds the 5,000 men plus women and children in John 6, he crosses over to the other side of the sea. The next day some of the people also cross over looking for Jesus.
Jesus tells them, “… You are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval” (John 6:26-27).
Then the people ask Jesus what they have to do to get God’s seal of approval. The answer is simple. In verse 29 Jesus tells them, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
They ask Jesus for proof of who he is. They recount their ancestors eating manna in the wilderness, bread from heaven.
Jesus tells them, “… It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:32-33).
They ask for this bread and Jesus says in verse 35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
It’s as simple as that. As simple as a woolly bear caterpillar hibernating for the winter. As simple as saying, “Lord, I believe.” That’s the only seal of approval we need.
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.