The Dung Beetle

As I walked the nature trails today, I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. When I stopped and examined more closely, I saw a black beetle pushing a brown ball more than twice its size. I had heard about dung beetles, but had never seen one in person before. (Yes, there is a bug called “dung beetle.”) And yes, it actually rolls a ball of dung, and the ball is much larger than the beetle.

This poor beetle struggled to push his comparatively huge ball of dung. His back legs skittered all over the place, and he frequently fell. Once he fell, he rolled over quickly and headed right back to pushing his ball of dung.

I watched him struggle for a moment or two, and then continued my walk.

Believe it or not, I couldn’t stop thinking about that dung beetle. I couldn’t help but compare it to people. Obviously, we don’t literally push around balls of dung, but we do metaphorically carry our own dung around.

Think about it. We worry and fret over what might happen tomorrow. We almost make ourselves sick thinking of all the bad things that might happen in our lives. Yep, we roll our own ball of dung.

At other times, we add to our heavy load by griping and complaining. Whatever the weather, we wish it were something else. We don’t like this; we don’t like that. We fail to see the beauty in the simple things around us. We carry, or roll, a heavy burden of grumbling and negativity.

Our ball of dung grows as we add our anger. What someone says or does, or what we think someone else might be thinking makes our blood boil. We carry the burden of our anger with us every day. It weighs us down and saps our energy and our joy.

Like the dung beetle, we spend a lot of time pushing around our dung, carrying our heavy loads.

But God didn’t intend for us to carry heavy burdens; he didn’t intend for us to push around balls of dung. Jesus told us, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). Yet we gather up our heavy loads, our worries, our complaints, our anger, and whatever other burdens we add to the heavy load.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to quit rolling around all my collected burdens and give them to Jesus. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29 & 30).

Published by nancyhamiltonsturm

After raising a family and then teaching for over 20 years, I retired from full-time work. Now I spend time with family, tap dance, take long walks in nature, read, and write. I have published two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul books and over a dozen devotions. My current goal is to publish a book of meditations over the gospels and to share my devotional writing on my blog. I hope you enjoy and are inspired.

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