The Butterfly Effect

Mark Johnston, Connections Pastor

This past summer, i pulled up to the building, and when i got out of my truck, i noticed that i’d hit a butterfly on the trip there. It was caught in the grille, dead as a doornail, but still intact. It was beautiful, even in it’s lifeless state, brown, but with perfectly round colorful spots on each of its wings. Stunning, even in death.brown-butterfly_3

I pulled it off the grille, looked it over for a few seconds, showed it to my daughter, the Unpaid Intern, who is not crazy about butterflies, especially dead ones, so i gave it an un-ceremonial toss to the concrete and went about my business for the day.

A couple of days later, a plain brown butterfly landed on the  cement next to my car. (Some days, Angelia allows me to drive her car to work.) There was nothing that stood out about this little guy. He was brown, with some lighter brown shading and some brown highlights. No spots, no ringlets…just brown. One step above a moth on the butterfly beauty scale that i just made up in my head.

He is able to fly, something mankind has only dreamed of for thousands of years, and do it on incredibly thin, delicate wings, against wind and other elements, avoiding birds, vehicles and predators all around him. He was painstakingly designed and crafted by our Creator, and that is a miracle in itself, but unlike his shockingly attractive relative, i paid him very little attention.

As a human being, i put more value on the pretty butterfly, even though it was dead, than i did the living, nondescript one.

The prophet Isaiah says this in his foretelling of the Messiah:

       “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”

So apparently in his physical appearance, Jesus Christ, God on earth in the form of a man, was a lot more like my plain, brown butterfly buddy than the beautiful one that i’d paid so much attention to. He was more “Average Joe” than whatever movie star is the latest heartthrob. (Insert your own pop-culture reference here, i am really out of touch with movies these days.)

Growing up, we had paintings of Jesus in the Sunday School classrooms at church. He was always slightly dark-complected, with long flowing hair…sort of an Americanized, cleaned up hippie with a few slight nods to his Jewish ancestry. In the movies, he was played by handsome blue-eyed Englishmen who always seemed to be looking up towards heaven, only slightly distracted by the goings on around him down here on earth.

But, in reality, people were drawn to him. Apparently not from his physical appearance, but by his compassion, his charisma—it was clear to everyone—even those that despised him, that he was different and he had something they wanted. People were attracted to him, yes…initially by the miracles, but when his ministry turned toward Jerusalem and the coming crucifixion, there was still something that made people, even his enemies, want to be around him.

So what’s the lesson here?

In our Photoshopped, ‘don’t post that one on Facebook,’ ‘you’ll tell me if i have something in my teeth, won’t you?’ world where physical appearance is your ticket to the big time, as believers, we need to look deeper. Not at butterflies, but at those around us, those who are hurting, those who didn’t take very good care of themselves when they were younger and are paying the price now. Those who are lost and hurting and don’t know where else to turn.

There is so much brokenness in this world, in this county…i pray that Stonepoint will continue to be a place that accepts the plain brown butterflies and embraces them, sees the value in them, points them to God and loves them the way Jesus would.

And that we would toss pretty, dead things to the ground.

3 thoughts on “The Butterfly Effect

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