Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


butterfly or common flyThe other day I was looking across the yard and noticed a hummingbird going from flower to flower.  It immediately reminded me of my grandma’s hummingbird feeder when I was a kid.  She loved watching those birds.  I also remember that she had to label the pitcher of red feeder liquid she kept in the fridge in order to keep my sister and I from thinking it was fruit punch for us, not feeder for the birds.

Anyway, no sooner did the hummingbird leave, that a butterfly showed up doing the same thing, bouncing from flower to flower.  This didn’t send a rush of memories to me like the hummingbird, but it did cause a rather odd observation to pop in my brain: “I’ve never seen a butterfly land on something nasty.”  The more I thought about, the more true this became for me. I’ve never seen one light on something at the dump, a piece of dog crap, or a rotten piece of fruit under a citrus tree.  They simply don’t do that.  Evidently, at least in my experience, they avoid all the nasty they possibly can.

Contrast this with the common fly and the difference is radical and obvious.  In fact, if there is something nasty lying around, it tends to not only be a place you’ll find a fly, but it even attracts them too.  Sweaty people, smelly animals, dying stuff, poop, and all kinds of other grossness are like a dream come true for a fly.  It seems that the nastier the smell, the more likely the fly’s to gather around it.

Since I’m a visual thinker…. I found this to be a profound reminder and a bit convicting myself.  The truth is, I’m not very butterfly like and neither is the culture I live in.   In fact, it’s rare that I meet people who bounce from beauty to beauty, enjoying the best life has to offer and always seeking the good in the midst of difficulty.   Most of us are not like that.  We tend to be more like the fly, traveling from crap pile to crap pile instead of fresh flower to fresh flower.

Think about it:

  • News stations often goes from tragedy to tragedy as their program teaser to get us to tune in.
  • Even those who overcome addiction tend to replace them with another unhealthy habit
  • How many people live life in America primarily traveling from one financial debt to another?
  • Most of us tend to migrate from critical comment to critical comment, not from encouragement to encouragement
  • We describe daily life as the “rat race”, not the “marvelous marathon”.
  • etc…

Something has to give.  Despite the overwhelming pull toward pointless living, I don’t think this is God’s design.  In fact, Jesus put it like this in a verse that is probably overused and often only half-quoted:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

It’s the devil’s plan to steal and kill and destroy, not God’s.  I don’t see anywhere in the Scriptures were we are promised a painless existence by following Jesus through happy skippy days all the time.  No, on the contrary tragedy was part of Jesus’ story and it strikes us all.   So if I want to live my life going from God-sighting to God-sighting not just regret to regret, I have to be really intentional about my focus.

Sadly, I actually have to refuse the patterns of my fly-like soul and travel over the stuff of life that promises to provide but is only a chocolate covered turd.  Really, how gross is that?  I don’t want to waste my life on that which is of no eternal value, regardless of what it masquerades as first.

I’ve decided that I want to be a butterfly landing on the great things of God all around me, not the nasty things constantly calling for my devotion that I have landed on all too often in my past.  It’s time I took my cues from the right insect.  It’s time to be a butterfly.


Oh… and I just remembered…  if you want a bonus example of this in cinematography… watch the film “I am legend” with Will Smith and look for the butterfly theme in the movie.  It’s the director’s clue to where beauty is found in the hopeless midst of misery and despair that the movie takes place within.  Even in the final scenes, as the lead Zombie thing is trying to kill Robert Neville (Will Smith), the glass between them shatters into the image of a butterfly.   You have to look fast, but it’s there.  Here you go:



Leave a Reply