A Beetle With a Purpose


Kristen Kay Johnson

I want to inform you all of something we deal with up here in Minnesota. For as a Kansas girl, I didn’t know. I had no idea what went on up here. Here’s what this story is about.

​In Kansas, we have the darker red of the two insects: the ladybug. This innocent little bug is the subject of storybooks and cute Halloween costumes. To my knowledge, nobody in Kansas is bugged by the ladybug. At least, she never caused me any harm!

I arrived on the scene in Minnesota 8 years ago during the fall. My inundation to the more orange insect in the picture took no time. You see, southern friends, on the last warm day of the year, this orangey insect, known as an Asian lady beetle, tries to come in to prepare for a warmer winter. They swarm your windows and doors by the thousands. I remember that first fall I would sprint past the two windows to get to the door to go inside, and then look at myself in a mirror to see how many Asian beetles were on me. Oh, plus, they stink. You can pick one off of you and its smell lingers on your fingers.

So, after the day of swarming, those thousands of little “cute looking” bugs are in your house. They lay in window sills, dead, creating their own Asian beetle cemetery. They flutter around lights and mirrors, trying to avoid their imminent death. They are terrible. If you have a basement, be prepared to take your vacuum and go to battle with the little creatures. I spent a morning cleaning up their “remains.” It’s even best to suck them up alive so you can avoid the stink!

Guess what? After my day of cleaning, I found more bodies. I think their life expectancy is nearing an end, so the death toll is no longer rising. I just have to clean them up. And just when I think I have them all, Crunch. I step on one and it sticks to my sock. Gross! Oh, and one just landed on the screen of my laptop. AHHHH!

In spite of their disgusting-ness, they have a purpose. Can you even believe it? You see, up here on the farm, we grow soybeans. Like many plants, they are subject to insects. The insect that likes soybeans is the aphid. My smart, farmer hubby tells me that long ago (1900’s), some genius farmers brought the little Asian beetle over because, low and behold, they eat aphids. They thought they had a break through in farming!

If you look at this picture below, you see the number of teeny tiny aphids on this one soybean leaf. There’s like, 100, on one leaf. Well if one plant has between 50-100 leaves, that’s at least 10,000 aphids per plant. And the field outside my house is 160 acres. We’re talking billions of aphids!!! The little Asian lady beetle has no chance. It cannot keep up with the little aphids. Farmers still have to spray for aphids if they want their crop to be productive.

It’s not the little Asian beetles’ fault. It is carrying out it’s purpose. I’m sure they eat a ton of aphids. They just can’t keep up with the advances of the modern farmer, who do their best to make the land produce more and more soybeans. Something about feeding the country… 🙂

Even though the Asian lady beetle is a nuisance, it has a purpose. God makes everything for a purpose that He designs. 

I’m encouraged today by this. God cares enough about the little Asian lady beetle to give it an even tinier bug to eat. Its purpose is to help farmers out a little bit. That’s cool.

If God cares that much for a stinky, crunchy bug, how much more does He care for us!

Here’s what the Bible tells us about our purpose:

1. We are created by God“Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:16-17).2. God gives us life and a purpose. “For in Him we live an move and exist” (Acts 17:28).

3. God loves His people the most out of all His creation. “What are mere mortals that you should think about them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority” (Psalm 8:4-6).

4. God calls us all. “Therefore I… beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God” (Ephesians 4:1).

That last one is my favorite. We have all been called by God to live our lives for Him. Each of us have a calling, a purpose, that only God can help fulfill. Our part? Simple. Seek God. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).

It is human nature to need a purpose. By seeking God with your whole heart, He will reveal your purpose. Something else that I’m discovering? We have different purposes at different times of our lives!

Right now, I’m a stay-at-home mom, caring for my young children. Before, I felt called to be an English teacher, and I got to do that for a few years. In the future, who knows? God wants us to serve Him, so He will reveal your purpose if you seek Him.

We all have a purpose, for we have all been called. If you’re doubting this truth today, think of the little, annoying Asian lady beetle. Even it has a God-given purpose. And trust me, God loves you way more than them!

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