Flea and Tick Sale
by Pastor George Van Alstine

A slick brochure came in the mail, and its banner headline was “FLEA & TICK SALE.” That seemed peculiar to me; why would anyone want to buy fleas and ticks, even at bargain prices?

I looked to see who was making such an offer. The company was “EntirelyPets.com.” That put a new twist on my dilemma: the fleas and ticks were being sold as pets, since that’s what the company’s name implies. I didn’t know people kept fleas and ticks as pets. How weird!

Then a thought surfaced from my memory bank; I had heard about such a thing as a “Flea Circus.” I imagined some guy who had “trained” fleas to jump on command (though, in fact, fleas tend to jump off command as well as on command). He then got gullible people to pay to look at his Flea Circus (I fantasized that this was popularly nicknamed “The Little Tent”). I wondered what the tick act might be like and decided they may just lay there sucking blood through a straw until they burst.

I realized these flea and tick circus stars might be major entertainers in their tiny world, hounded by beetle paparazzi and subjects of lurid tabloid stories.

My musings were interrupted when I took another look at the brochure. EntirelyPets.com was not trying to sell fleas and ticks after all. They were trying to sell poisons to exterminate fleas and ticks. Rather than being promoters of “The Little Tent,” they were selling weapons of mass destruction to terrorists/pet-owners who were doing all they could to eliminate these little critters I had begun to love.

Before I got too emotional, it occurred to me that it was not in the interests of EntirelyPets.com to eradicate all fleas and ticks. In fact, their marketing department would be delighted to see a dramatic increase in the number of fleas and ticks, for when fleas and ticks abound, the sales of their poisonous products would likewise abound.

Which reminded me of a passage in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, 6:1-4:

“What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of live.”

Paul had written about God’s miracle cure for sin, GRACE. Some people reasoned, “Well, if grace is such a good thing, maybe we should sin more so we can receive more grace.” Paul says, “By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?”

The pet supply industry has not come up with a product that causes dogs and cats to “die to fleas and ticks,” that is, to develop a permanent immunity. Or if they have, maybe they’re not telling us about it because their sales would go down.

In contrast to the products advertised in the brochure, God’s grace is not a poison designed to destroy individual sins. It’s a magical elixir that takes away sin’s power to attack us at all and allows us to “walk in newness of life.”

Kind of like a dog who never has to worry about fleas and ticks again.