6th October 2021


Why, I wonder, did God create moths? The question was raised for me when one of our deacons showed me a hole in his suit trousers where a moth had had a meal. I commiserated with him, as was only right and proper, to find that in my wardrobe the little critters had had breakfast off my favourite sports jacket – undiscovered because of the pandemic. On the radio has come the news that far from being a threatened species moth numbers are increasing considerably. Turning to the Bible I discovered that most of the Old Testament references to moths do not survive in modern translations, so we are left with Jesus’ words about ‘laying up treasure where neither moth nor rust can destroy’, so within the divine economy these little creatures have their place, to teach us the vulnerability of our earthly possessions where little insects can have so extensive and disastrous an impact. By contrast, treasure established in heaven, we are assured, is eternally secure [Matthew 6 v19-21]. But there is added purpose as Luke makes clear for ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ [Luke 12, 34] for there is an even more insidious cause of corruption than hungry moths and that is the intrinsic materialism that lies deep in the human heart. Material possessions of themselves are part of God’s good creation, but to make an idol of them, selfishly intent on getting more and more, is in fact to abuse God’s creation, for his provision is not just for the few but for all. The really rich are those who, in serving others, store up treasure in heaven.

John Briggs