Whenever we go anywhere as a family, my wife and my sons never need to worry about mosquitoes. Why? Because these pesky creatures quickly bypass every member of my family in favour of . . . Me! It seems I wear some kind of an invisible red target circle, advertising to all neighbourhood mosquitoes that there is a FREE MEAL in town! The only reasonable explanation is that all the Belgian chocolate I ate as a kid has rendered my blood as sweet as chocolate. And no, you can’t have any!
I can be dressed like an astronaut in full-gear while my family is literally walking around in shorts and tank tops, and the mosquitoes will bypass all of that exposed skin and somehow find a way to sneak in through my gear for a snack! No matter how much mosquito repellent I spray on, I am still considered delicious in their eyes! I’m sure glad that I can be of service this way, but I have to ask myself if being outdoors, even for short periods of time, is worth all of the welts and itching I have for days afterwards!
Although the mosquitoes are not attracted to my wife (Good thing or I would be jealous!), black flies see her in a different light. They all go out of their way to get a piece of her flesh, leaving her with plenty of “souvenirs” for their efforts. Thanks to my wife, my sons and I are largely ignored by black flies. I’m thankful for this, but I’m not too pleased to be left with a wife full of holes! What a pair we make!
The Yukon was detrimental to us both. Swarms of black flies would be enveloping my wife while I would be dealing with clouds of mosquitoes. The tourists must have thought we were a local attraction. We could almost hear their thoughts: “Look at these two! The locals sure do like them! There must be something special about them. Better take a picture and ask for their autograph!”
Our two sons would look on in disgust. “Get a grip,” they would say, as we danced like demons to swat away those unwelcome visitors. What a relief to find shelter in our car!
“Papa can we go for ice-cream?”
“No! I hate mosquito-covered ice-cream, and I’m pretty sure mom doesn’t like the taste of black fly ice-cream either!”
As we go through life, we all tend to attract a following, but of people instead of insects. The type of people we tend to attract is usually based on our lifestyle, our religion, our culture, our tastes, our political philosophies, our careers and our ways of life. For example, the Pharisees in Jesus time were surrounded by similar hypocrisies. They went out of their way to attract the admiration of others. “Look how pious these Pharisees are! They sure know how to pray!”
Jesus thought differently about them: “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” (Mark 12:38-40 NIV)
Others, like Herod, attracted a swarm of people who lusted after vice. “Let’s party and indulge in all of our vices! We are going to have fun!” God sees these quite differently as well: “But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.” (Luke 3:19-20 NIV)
Jesus however, attracted a very different kind of crowd: “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.” (Matt 9:10 NIV)
That shocked the “righteous-in-their-own-eyes” Pharisees beyond belief: “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors “and sinners”?'” (Matt 9:11 NIV)
Jesus answer was unequivocal: “On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (Matt 9:12-13 NIV)
Jesus attracted sinners because He could give them something that no one else could give: hope, acceptance and deliverance. Jesus loves sinners! He hates sin, but loves sinners! No matter how awful one’s sins, Jesus not only forgives, but gives that person an out-of-this world experience: victory over any sinful ensnarement!
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV)
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)
My question to my fellow believers is this: what kind of crowd do you attract? Are people attracted to you because you can give them hope, acceptance and through Jesus’ deliverance?
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20 NIV)
By any chance, do you know of any way to deter mosquitoes or black flies?