Scene One: One mouse, scurrying across the floor. That’s all I saw at first. One tiny mouse that brought on a foreboding disproportionate to its own minuscule size. It’s amazing how much damage one mouse can do, I thought to myself. It’s amazing how one mouse can soon become two.
Scene Two: Premonition becomes reality and this one unwelcome guest has invited company. They are now an army of mice climbing atop my table and into my food. I swat at them, dishes crashing to the floor. One swing, two swings, and then a third . . .
Scene Three: The aftermath. As my vision spans the room, a realization sinks in concerning the consequences of allowing just one little pest to remain. Contaminated food, broken vessels, overturned chairs, and then I see it . . . that nasty vermin destroyed my Bible.
I have plenty of dreams that I wake from and don’t give any more thought than, “Wow, that was really weird.” This would have fit the same category if it wasn’t for that picture of my destroyed Bible lingering in my mind. The Word of God is more than just paper and ink, so it’s not as though it can actually be destroyed. The symbolism still struck me, however. The working of God’s Word can be spoiled in our lives if we let it, and it’s not always obvious, not always black and white. Sometimes it’s the gray things, the little things we let into our lives . . . like that little gray mouse.
The Bible gives a similar warning in the Song of Solomon when it calls out, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” ( 2:15). Broadly applied, the vineyards can be nearly anything involving our lives, and foxes can take many forms. Within business vineyards, quality control and safeguards must be kept so as not to let in a “fox” that could cost hundreds, thousands, even millions. Within our diet vineyards, there are often small foxes here and there that we let in and underestimate the hindrance to progress which comes with them. Most important are relationships, and marriages are a favorite vineyard for foxes of wide variety to come in and slowly destroy.
Solomon’s vineyard is of an earthly marriage, yet the even greater symbolism should turn our attention to the marriage between God and ourselves. Jesus declared, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This short passage reveals several things. First, that God wants us to remain in Him, meaning relationship. Second, within this relationship, His plans and purposes for us will come to fruition. Third, stating “IF you remain in me” is to also state that there may be some who fail to remain. Fourth, we can do nothing if this occurs. The working of His will and purposes for us will not come to fruition. Even the fruit we had may begin to dry up.
So keep watch for the foxes or, as with my dream, keep watch for the mice! We constantly encounter temptations that seem so small and gray, but can slowly eat away at our relationship with Christ, and hinder our growth and effectiveness in all that He’s planned for us. Whether it be frustrations, discouragements, distractions, or compromises – guard your relationship as if your life depended upon it, for He is the Life. Then you will bloom into all that He has created you to be and your fruit will display the beauty of our God!
(Vermin Alert! Little Things, Big Consequences written by Lesley Rieland)