A few weeks ago, the caper white butterflies passed by my town on their way from the south to the north of Australia. On one particular day, I saw hundreds of them in clusters that looked like floating balls of snowflakes. Amazed and curious about where they came from, I googled it and discovered a world of wonder about butterfly migration.
The species I saw had a long way to travel, but I learnt of another species whose trip is even more impressive. Each year the monarch butterfly migrates from Canada to Mexico to escape the cold on a lengthy feat that can be as long as 8000 kilometres. Yet what’s interesting is that monarch butterflies only have a two-to-three-week lifespan. Typically, it will take around five generations to complete the journey, meaning the monarchs that arrive in Mexico aren’t the monarchs that left Mexico the previous year.
You could say they are natural leaders, for they have the courage to start the journey, the insight to guide others along the way and the endurance to persevere even though they might never see the destination.
There are two things this reminded me of. The first is that so often, we can feel like our contributions are but a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things and that if we can’t see the fruit of our actions, they must have been in vain. It’s easy to be discouraged. But we must remember that the flap of one butterfly’s wings has the potential to generate a world of change on the other side of the world. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make the most significant difference.
The second thing is that we, too, are on a journey home and might not be here in the last days of that journey. Still, we are called to influence and must continue the mission, focusing our attention on directing, teaching and mentoring others.
Each of us doing our small part in the grand mission might not seem like much, but we can be encouraged by the monarch butterflies and trust that our tiny, everyday choices matter.
So then, let us carry on the journey irrespective of where it may or may not take us and “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1), “for the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).
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