Rock Badgers for Jesus
Have you ever struggled in the chase for satisfaction and have you ever wanted to be a rock badger for Jesus instead?
I’ll get to the rock badger piece of this in a minute. But, we must begin with the chase for satisfaction. This chase and the feeling of never having quite enough is ever-present in the human experience. I’m amazed at how well that song “Never Enough” in The Greatest Showman captures this ethos of human desire.
Watch the song here if you have a chance. In the scene, everyone’s eyes tell the story. PT Barnum wants a woman he shouldn’t have, while Barnum’s wife wants the man she once had. The other performers and observers as well express deep longing for something greater, something beyond them which they can’t quite get.
All the while, these words are sung on stage:
All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it'll
Never be enough
Even the world and all its gold and all its stars wouldn’t be enough for Barnum or anyone else there. It’s humanity’s spirit displayed in one scene. It is the spirit of chases for job promotions, the pursuit of relationships – romantic or otherwise, or even sports fans who find themselves angry at their team only winning 90% of their games. We want enough, or maybe a little more, and we can’t get it.
If you find yourself in this song or these ideas, you aren’t alone. What do you or we do?
In short, we may just need to become rock badgers for Jesus.
I reference here Agur and his wisdom for life in Proverbs 30. In Proverbs 30, Agur walks us through a zoo of wisdom, as he makes observations of animals ranging from leeches to locusts to lions to roosters to yes, even rock badgers.
All throughout, he explores the dynamics of satisfaction, of straining for what cannot satisfy. He writes in Proverbs 30:15-16:
The leech has two daughters:
Give and Give.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
Sheol, the barren womb,
the land never satisfied with water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
There is a leeching way of life, Agur observes, one that sings “Never Enough” as its daily anthem or creed. While it might acquire much, burn much, drink much, and experience much, it’s left empty. It’s never satisfied. Agur has seen those, perhaps like us, for whom towers of gold became far too little.
There’s another way, though, Agur observes. It is the way of ants, rock badgers, locusts, and lizards, animals called “exceedingly wise” in Proverbs 30:24. Agur writes (Pr. 30:24-28),
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings' palaces.
What is the difference between the leeches of Proverbs 30:15 and the animals referenced here in v24-28? In what way are they “exceedingly wise”?
The pattern of the text is clear: the ants, rock badgers, locusts, and lizards do ordinary, unseen tasks well and yet accomplish remarkable things. Instead of chasing at the satisfaction and pleasures of the world at every turn, they wake up and get to work. They gather their food, make their homes, and march in rank.
Agur’s point here is contrast. You can chase after the world and all its pleasures. You can try to exalt yourself, try to be grand, and pursue the spectacular. And you’ll never have enough.
Or, you can be a rock badger (or a lizard, ant, or locust) for Jesus. And there, you will find honor, by imitating the humble, the lowly, and the diligent.
The key to unlocking this vision is really what Agur offers in a few verses that precede his animal musings. He writes, Proverbs 30:8-9:
“Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”
Agur’s life centered on one defining reality: the name of God. “Who is the LORD?” is the defining question of Agur’s life. Desiring to exalt his name is the defining purpose of Agur’s life.
When we have the LORD’s name central to our identity and purpose, we are free. We are free from being leeches, free to live out our purpose. We are free to be rock badgers for Jesus.
Life, then, is not about chasing satisfaction until you nab it. Life is about trusting God for your provision and fulfilling the calling right in front of you.
No matter the “shine of a thousand spotlights” or “the stars we steal from the night sky”, we now know there is another way to satisfaction.
So, what do “rock badgers for Jesus” do in their daily life? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Rock badgers for Jesus work hard for the LORD – really hard. Unconsumed by people’s responses to their work or immediate gratification, rocks badgers for Christ are found laboring constantly for Him. They are neither lazy nor working in a frenzy or hurried panic. They invest in repeated labor for the true, the good, and the beautiful.
2. Rock badgers for Jesus give themselves to daily tasks for the LORD that have long-term fruit, but perhaps little immediate recognition.
3. Rock badgers for Jesus give themselves to creative energy for the LORD. The leech is seeking others’ resources and nourishment. The rock badger builds a home in the cliffs. In Jesus, we are not just drawing on others’ offers for pleasure, but we become creatives ourselves. We use our hands, our minds, and our words to explore and enjoy the glory of God’s created world.
4. Rock badgers for Jesus constantly deflect glory to their king. In Proverbs 30:29-31, Agur highlights wonderful kingly animals (like the lion) that are compared to a king with his army. The contrast is clear: rock badgers are the workers, lion-like kings are the glory-getters. This is how God’s economy works. We labor and serve. And in this and through this, we exalt our King, Jesus Christ, who goes before us.
In this, rock badgers for Jesus find their satisfaction.