It was several years ago as I recall. I had gone to the gym in the futile attempt of tightening what had loosened and after doing my bit, I was sitting in the sauna. As the heat loosened my muscles so the peace loosened my mind; and my mind, being freed, burst forth in verse. The subject, however, was a bit odd.
You see, a few weeks before this as I was hiking through the Congaree Swamp, I glanced down at the ground. To my surprise and delight there was a dung beetle right smack dab in the middle of the trail. Apparently he had been very industrious for he had a nice prize rolling in front of him, or in back of him as the case may be. Where he got the thing I don’t know or care to know, but he was sure proud of it nonetheless.
So as I was lying there in the sauna with my mind’s eye revisiting the scene it occurred me that in all of literature there was probably no verse dedicated to the humble dung beetle. So I wrote a poem in honor of the beetle and his humble task.
Ode to the Humble Dung Beetle
Have you ever heard a dung beetle sing,
midst cow pie and dew on the feld?
There’s a gleam in his eye,
as with droppings he plies his trade
for which breath must be held.
As backward he goes
he carries a load of burdens
that few can conceive.
But he’s filled with glee
for he knows that we
need him to clean up what we leave.
So next time you see a dung beetle be,
filled with joy and leap high in the air.
For under your feet
he sweepeth the street,
for thus has the Lord placed him there.
Now the question that may well be popping into your mind right now is: “Why in the world is he writing about a dung beetle?”
The answer is simple. I am not writing about the dung beetle per say. I am writing about the joy and contentment felt when a creature knows without doubt that he or she is doing the task for which they were created.
Why the poor dung beetle, poor in my estimation at least, has been relegated to such a repugnant task is not for he or me to question. He has been given the tools of the trade and a desire to do the best he can in the service of his Creator. In doing his job well he brings joy to his Creator, and he sleeps the peaceful sleep of the righteous.
He never questions. He never laments his position. He never blames God for his station in life. He simply revels in his service and carries on day in and day out.
How often do we lament the station in which we have been placed? How often do we spend our days dreaming of things to come only to lose the things that are?
To quote a great song writer, who also just so happened to be a Beatle; John Lennon once wrote that:
“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
We, as human beings, have been given the great gift of reason and critical thought. We have been blessed with the gift and curse of realizing our mortality. We carry within us the double edged sword of ambition which takes us to heights unimagined and yet steals our contentment if left unchecked.
We find it hard to rest in the Lord, for we are a restless breed.
Life is a balancing act for us all. Most of us hover somewhere between ambition and contentment, laziness and hyperactivity. Finding balance in this life is difficult, to say the least; but amidst the turmoil of life deep peace and contentment of spirit is available in the person of Jesus Christ.
For whatever our station and whatever our dreams, if Christ is kept foremost in our hearts and minds, and if His will is truly sought throughout our brief earthly existence, then peace and joy will be the bed upon which our lives rest. Then life will no longer be a burden to bear, but a joy to experience as we live in the light of His love and rest in the peace of His presence.