I had breakfast this morning in the cafeteria of the local grocery store. It was not a pleasant time due to the large number of flies that seemed to be competing for bragging rights over which one could get past my defenses and plunder my plate of sausage, eggs and pancakes. Eating was a choreographed exercise in waving them off with one hand while eating with the other.
Meanwhile, at the table next to me sat a young mother with a boy that looked to be around six, or seven-years old. He was playing a game, with his nose in some sort of hand-held device as his mother went to the beverage area to get something to drink. While she was gone, their food was delivered and he continued to play his game. The flies, seeing unprotected food, left my area and descended on the neighboring table with its easy pickings. I counted no less than eight of them foraging on buttered toast, bacon and eggs, and pancakes. Mom returned and upon seeing the black winged army of marauders, let out a sigh of disgust as she began waving them away, some of them stubbornly persisting until she almost touched them with her hand. She saw me watching and commented on the unusual number of flies.
So … I asked her, “Do you know the first thing a fly does when it lands on your food?”
“No”, she said, “I suppose it starts to eat”
“Well”, I replied, “Flies can’t chew because they have no teeth. So, instead, the first thing they do is vomit up their stomach fluids which then liquefy the food so that they can suck it up, like using a straw”.
“Really?”, she said asked.
Nodding sagely, I replied, “Really”.
Her son, by this time had begun to dig into his pancakes. “Scott”, she said, “put that down.” And she took the fork from his hand midway on its path to his mouth. She then took him by the hand and I watched them as they left the store and crossed the parking left. The flies, sensing victory, returned to the table and began vomiting.
There are flies, it seems, in almost every local church. If uncontrolled, they buzz about landing here and there and vomiting up the contents of their stomachs to liquefy the foundations and bindings of a healthy ministry. They do this with regard for no one but themselves and they leaving behind the unpalatable mess of a weakened or destroyed ministry. In these days of doctrinal, ethical and philosophical potpourri it behooves us to be vigilant, get a bug zapper, hang some sticky paper, at least get a strong fan. The flies are coming.