"Murder Hornets"

Most of us would concur that hornets and other insects with stingers are not our favorites, and we usually can avoid and ignore them. Except perhaps when there is a new "Super Stinger" that poses an imminent threat to us and our food supply. Last fall. a menacing variety of the Asian Hornet was discovered in the Pacific Northwest. Swift action was taken by the Washington State Department of Agriculture in October to address this problem. 

A group of scientists was dispatched to Blaine, Washington, to deal with a nest inhabited by 500 live specimens of the world's largest hornet growing to 2 inches long and nicknamed, the "murder hornet!" Its toxic venom can cause organ failure and death. These highly trained specialists also found 200 queens in the nest who were capable of mating and multiplying this threat and quickly it spreading to additional areas. This threatening species was first detected in the United States in December of 2019 and since then, scientists have been trying to contain them. 

Vespa mandarinia Smith, 1852
Asian Giant Hornet
Photo credit: invasive.org

What is the major threat of this new and invasive insect? Ultimately, it can displace and devastate our population of honey bees that serve as a major pollinator for the nation's crops. Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist and expert in the field of hornet research, made this sobering statement, "When you see all be it a relatively small nest like this able to pump out 200 queens, it does give one a little bit of pause."  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/11/11/murder-hornets-200-asian-giant-hornet-queens-found-washington-nest/6246475002/  

I wonder how well we will do in eradicating this menacing hornet population? Do you remember our lack of success with the Asian Carp? That variety of fish was introduced into our waterways in the 1970's to help control algae. Soon, it took over and dominated other popular species of fish! Today, we are selling it locally at the fish market and being told it is some of the best eating carp ever! I could hope that the strategy to address the Asian Hornet threat goes a lot better! 

The Bible speaks pointedly about the powerful influence of something small being used for good or evil. Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God using the parable of the mustard seed to illustrate this, "Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree" (Matthew 13:32). It is insightful that our Lord follows this teaching with another parable, this time of leaven or yeast, "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast... mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked through the dough" (13:33).

In another place, Jesus warned the disciples of the evil influence of the religious leaders of their day, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (16:6). This was a contrast to what Jesus had said earlier in chapter 13. This was a warning using leaven or yeast as a negative metaphor. The instruction for the disciples was clear. Beware of the impact of evil corruption and how it can ruin what is good! 

The Washington state scientists could have just ignored the reality of 200 queen hornets in a single nest in a rural area. The naturalists who introduced the Asian carp could have rested in the reality that they were just doing their job to eradicate algae. A single action can have major consequences. Small things have great impact for good or for harm. 

What are we ignoring in our lives today that can and likely will have a major impact later? A secret sin that we should confess to God and trust His grace to turn from it? Some small act of kindness that would meet a need and yet, we neglect to do it? Sins of commission and omission! We can't excuse ourselves when we know what we should do. "Peter said, 'Explain the parable to us,' and Jesus replied, 'Are you still so dull?'" (Matthew 15:15-16). It's not that complicated, is it?!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor, 
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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