On a recent trip to Guatemala, I developed a new appreciation for moths. This happened as an unintended consequence of my roommates and I leaving the bathroom light on at night. Each morning, the room was inhabited by a new collection of these winged insects. They came in an enormous variety of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes.
Moths really are amazing creatures, but they’re the Rodney Dangerfield of the insect world…they get no respect! Instead, their first cousin, the butterfly, gets all the notoriety. Even though there are moths that rival the beauty of any butterfly, you never hear of anyone releasing moths at their wedding. There’s a butterfly farm in Greensboro where you can go see butterflies in various stages of development from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult butterfly. You can even feed the butterflies there and have them land on your hand. You’d never find a similar attraction for the lowly moth. Many little girls have rooms decorated from top to bottom with butterflies. A moth found in a little girl’s room will most likely get swatted.
Just as we may value the butterfly more than the moth, even though they are basically the same insect, we also tend to value some people more than others. Can you think of the butterflies and moths in your life? Are there certain people or groups of people that you value and respect more than others? Is that perspective in line with the example given to us by Jesus?
Remember, when Jesus walked the earth, he spent his time ministering to the people that could be classified as the “moths” of society. He spent his time loving and sharing the good news with prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen and thieves. He avoided the people who enjoyed an undeserved place of prestige in society. He also calls us as His followers to the same standard, challenging our value system by reminding us that when we serve the “least of these” we serve Him.