Friendly Cockroaches

March 22, 2012 by Paul Chappell

My wife is a godly lady who has cheerfully endured many difficulties for the sake of the ministry over the years. But she hates cockroaches.

Unfortunately, one of the hotel rooms we stayed in while in Central America last week had these unwelcome critters. More unfortunately, Terrie was the first to discover our guests.

She killed the first one in the bathroom and brought me in to see the expired victim. Then she suggested that I ask the hotel manager for a new room.

We were on a tight, busy schedule, and I couldn’t talk to the manager until the following day. By that time, Terrie had stepped directly on one and spotted more. She even captured one in a jar to prove the invasion.

I made my way to the hotel office and suggested a simple solution to the manager—he allow us to move to a new (and hopefully uninfested) room.

The manager failed to see my concern. He began to explain that this species of cockroaches is harmless, and he proceeded to explain that we should welcome these creatures who share our environment. Then he said a statement I will never forget: “Mr. Chappell, the cockroaches are our friends!”

I immediately protested. “They are not my wife’s friends.” To be sure there was no language barrier, I demonstrated as I continued, “When I see a cockroach, I get up and stomp on it.”

After over half an hour of my explaining cockroaches from an American perspective and demonstrating my wife’s dislike for them, finally the manager reluctantly gave us another room.

The lengths to which I had to go to make my point clear about the cockroaches reminded me of the similar efforts that seem to be required to help some Christians understand the privilege that is ours in giving to the Lord.

It’s not in our human nature to want to give. Like our manager friend, we prefer to explain why giving really isn’t needed or to rationalize why we should not be required to participate.

Yet, God delights in the cheerful, willing gifts of His people. He does not want us to give because we feel coerced into it, because someone has jumped up and down passionately expressing the need. He wants us to give to Him because we want to.

This is why Paul instructed the Corinthians, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

The Christian who loves God believes that there’s just one way to give—cheerfully.


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