The Biblical image of wolves is that of dangerous predators who devour the sheep, which are part of Jesus flock (Matt 7:15, 10:16; Luke 10:3 Acts 20:29). True, this is the prevailing metaphor for wolves in Sacred Scripture, but there are other traits to wolves that can be used in a different way.
One of the most dramatic impacts of wolves is that they can change rivers.
You might ask how? Watch this wonderful video, which explains how. You really can’t understand the rest of this post without watching it.
A few points on comparing wolves to evangelists, based on the video above:
- A wolf can’t be ignored. They will, in the end, change the behavior of the other animals. The same is true of evangelists. Other people our bound to react to them (in one way or another) and hopefully change their behavior for the better, but for a different reason. It isn’t through fear of evangelists that someone changes, but rather a desire to be like them and to possess what they have – a relationship with Jesus.
- It only takes a small number of wolves to change the entire environment around them. The same is true with great evangelists. Think of the Apostles and what they accomplished. Within a few generations, they completely changed the entire Roman Empire!
- Wolves are ecosystem engineers that provide an environment that other animals will thrive in. Just like a great evangelist will provide a spiritual environment where others will want to grow and increase both in depth and number. Furthermore – they will impact not only those directly in contact with them, but others they may never even come in contact with directly.
- Not only are other animals affected, but so are plants, trees, and even rivers (as the video explains)! In other words, unthinkable results can ultimately come from what might look like small changes.
- Wolves provided an environment that was more stable and provided for regeneration of many species that were being worn down by the other animals. Many don’t come to Jesus because they have never experienced true love, peace, grace, or friendship. They have accepted an imitation that is chewed up and unstable. Yet, in a relationship with Jesus and His Church, there should be stability and spiritual regeneration that lasts for generations.
- Wolves help the rivers run the course they are meant to run. The wolves never knew they were changing and guiding rivers, just as much of our work in evangelization goes unseen in this life. We are to be faithful, proclaim the Gospel, and love others (live like wolves ought to live). We may not know that we have helped straighten the course of someone else’s life and helped lead them to the straight and narrow stream toward heaven.
- Ultimately, the wolves changed both the ecosystem and the geography of the underlying land. Evangelists must not only work to change lives for individuals as well as the culture in which we live as well. Without systematic change, we can’t expect true cultural transformation.
What other thoughts on this imagery might you add?
Tip o’ the hat to Sherry Weddell who posted this video for reflection. (0)