The Sting of a Yellow Jacket
By Dennis Love
Summer is great except for the heat, humidity, chiggers, ants, and bees. I can handle the heat and the humidity because I can get out of it and run inside the house where it is cool. However, some of the pests of summer are inevitable. During the period of two short afternoons, I received six chigger bites, two black ant bites, and a sting from a yellow jacket. I have concluded that all three are of the devil. Chigger bites will drive you up the wall. You break out and they itch like crazy for days. Ant bites hurt like crazy too. If you have been attacked by the devil and bitten by a black ant, you know what I mean. They feel like a bee sting, but the bite of an ant will actually linger longer than a bee sting. And the sting of a yellow jacket is enough to make you cry.
I’m thankful that I’m not allergic to bee stings. We have a lot of summertime left, and I have already been stung twice. If you escape the summer from a bee sting, you must be living very close to Jesus, or you just don’t venture much outside. Recently I conducted the funeral of a man who was allergic to bee stings. He stepped out on his back deck and was stung twice. Once on the top of his head and the other on his stomach. He was stung by two small black wasps. I looked them up and they abound throughout North America. Within two minutes he was unable to speak and died several days later. He was 89 years old, and two stings from two small black wasps took his life. Two days after his funeral, I was stung by a yellow jacket. It hurt, but it didn’t take my life. However, his death and my sting reminded me of the following verses of Scripture found in 1 Corinthians 15:55-58.
“O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Maybe one of the reasons we have bees, and we get stung from time to time, is to remind us that the sting of a bee can really hurt us, but the sting of death for a believer is not even felt. The sting of death is only felt by those who have never been born-again. On the cross, Jesus took the sting of death for each of us. He tells us in verse 55 that the sting of death is sin. In other words, the sting will only be felt by those who have never experienced freedom from the forgiveness of sin in Christ. Then he tells us in verse 56 that not even the Law has the power to (sting) or condemn someone who has been ushered into the presence of God.
The 89-year-old man who died from those two bee stings certainly felt the stings of those two bees, but he didn’t feel the sting of death. I certainly felt the sting of that yellow jacket, and it hurt. But God reminded me that I will never experience the most powerful sting there is and that my friend is the sting of death for those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. That’s why we are instructed in verse 58 to be steadfast, unmovable, and always doing something for our Lord, for we know that what we do is not in vain.
Dr. Dennis Love is the Associational Missions Strategist for the Blue Ridge Baptist Association in McDowell County. Dr. Love has been in full-time ministry work for 31 years. He and his wife Vicki have been married for almost 42 years, and they have lived in Marion for almost 8 years. They have two sons, four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. He can be reached via email at: [email protected]
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