Summary: So often little things become important and important things seem to be left unseen.

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Matt. 23:24 - 24“Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and

swallow a camel!

During the summer of 1970, a certain individual worked for

a road construction company that was rebuilding U.S.

highway 90 along the Mississippi gulf coast. This, follow-

ing the devastation of hurricane Camille the previous

summer. Long work days began at about daybreak.

Without even the hint of a breeze at that hour, the waters of

the Gulf of Mexico were as still as a sheet of glass. The

freshness of these mornings might have been more fully

enjoyed, if it had not been for another phenomenon

familiar to Gulf Coast dwellers...gnats. Down there,

anyone foolish enough to come near the sandy beach that

early on certain summer mornings would be attacked. So

small that you can hardly see them...these gnats bite with a

torment that is out of all proportion to their size. By

mid-morning they’ve disappeared, but for the first few

hours of the day they are enough to make a grown man cry.

Joe Bridges, from Tylertown, Mississippi, had been a

common laborer for many long years and had followed

construction jobs all over the South. In a patient, rhythmic

way he worked in difficult conditions, and this morning

was no exception. As one man furiously fought the gnats

and said unappreciative things about the day in which he I

was born, Joe seemed to take only slight notice of the

annoying little insects.

‘Man, how in the world can you stand this?’, the first man

finally screamed., ‘Don’t these gnats bother you?’

‘Well,’ Joe said, looking at him sideways as he adjusted his

hard hat a little, ‘I guess they would.....if I let ‘em.’

Folks who have known what real hardship is do not pay

much attention to gnats.

I. Our lives are dominated by relatively minor vexations.

A. If we took the time to think and to place

importance where importance really belonged....

we know that we should not give these things the

honor of a second’s thought.

1. Instead of rising above these things and setting

our eyes on the important things of this life,

we concentrate on the gnats and let the things

that are important go unheeded.

Matt. 23:23 - 23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,

hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and

cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the

law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have

done, without leaving the others undone.

a. We have all heard the saying, “the

squeaky wheel gets the grease”......why

does it get the grease?

1.) Are there not more important

things than squeaky wheels?

a.) The squeaky wheel gets the

grease because we cannot

stand to have our ears

annoyed.....and while we are

greasing the squeaky wheel,

we forget to put in gasoline.

B. Vexation (annoyance) comes in many forms and


1. They come from people who do not do what

we think that they should.

2. They come from people who do things

in a different way than we would do them.

3. They come from circumstances that we find

ourselves in......things that we would be


4. They can come from our own inability to do

or not do what we intend.

** A measure of a person is the size of what it takes to

annoy that person.

II. Our inability to cope with the “gnats of annoyance” in

our lives can be traced directly to....a failure of

self-discipline with regard to the basic issues of


A. Annoyance brought about because of “gnats” may

not, in itself, be a sin....but this failure to control

the emotions can certainly become a sin.

1. We get annoyed only if and when we choose

to be annoyed.

B. The tendency to become annoyed opens wide the

heart to all manner of evil things.

Prov. 25:28 - 28 Whoever has no rule over his own

spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.

Prov. 16:32 - 32 He who is slow to anger is better than

the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a


Prov. 19:11 - 11 The discretion of a man

makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to

overlook a transgression.

I Peter 4:8 - 8And above all things have fervent love for

one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

I Cor. 13:5 - 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its

own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil.

1. I can think of a multitude of sins that come, as

a direct result of being provoked by a gnat.

a. Anger (display of violent temper)

b. Quarrels

c. Revenge (Vengeance or “pay back time”)

d. Hatred (the opposite of love)

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