Saturday, September 18, 2021

Night of the Mosquito - Martin Wiles

Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good. Ecclesiastes 9:18 NLT

She never went to bed without spraying.

My maternal grandparents lived in an old farmhouse on a rather large acreage of land. Enough that they didn’t have to worry about neighbors minding their business. But the old house had no central air or heat. A few space gas heaters kept it tolerable in the wintertime (the old fireplaces in each room had long since been boarded up), and open windows and fans kept it cool in the hot, Southern summers.

Although I don’t remember the screens in the old house having rips in them, somehow an unwelcome guest arrived every night during the warm months, about nine months out of the year.

My grandmother had a nightly ritual I observed when I spent the night with her. I slept in the front bedroom, as she called it. A large room with two full-sized beds, an old piano, and other bedroom furniture. My cousin, who lived next door, often slept over when I spent the night.

Before settling in for the night and telling ghost stories, my grandmother made her way around the room to all the windows with a can of Raid insect spray. She sprayed the screens, hoping to kill any mosquitoes that had already made their way in and to prevent any who hadn’t, but were thinking about it. This smell, along with the mosquito truck that made its regular appearance down the highway out front and let out a cloud of repellant, was almost more than I could bear. Neither seemed to help.

No sooner than my grandmother had turned the light off than I heard the singing. A female mosquito seeking blood to fertilize her eggs. My grandmother had no night lights or outside pole lights. The room was as black as tar. I swatted, but to no avail. I couldn’t see what I swatted at. I could only hear it. I covered as much of my body as possible, hoping the intruder wouldn’t get under the cover and suck on my body all night. Eventually, sleep overtook the singing, but I normally woke up to several whelps on various parts of my body.

Although bad, the mosquito had an influence. Just as Solomon says one bad person can destroy much good.

Our influence is good or bad. We make the choice. From the mosquito’s perspective, her influence brought good. She was fertilizing her eggs. From my standpoint, it involved bad. She sucked my blood and made an itchy whelp.

God’s Word tells the requirements for a good influence. It requires sacrifice. God’s ways entail love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A good influence leads to careful consideration of our actions, attitudes, and words so that we influence in the way we intend. And our influence must be intentional for it to be good consistently.

Bad influences are easy to make. All we must do is follow the flow of the majority. They’ll lead us in the wrong direction almost every time.

Ask God to give you the power of a mosquito’s influence—only make it good.

Prayer: Father, help us to influence our world in a good way. 

Tweetable: How's your influence? 

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