In the late 1950’s , Chairman Mao Zedong of China implemented the first stages of his Great Leap Forward, an effort to move China away from a predominantly agrarian society to a modern industrial and political power. One of the first parts of the GLF was the Four Pests Campaign.
The Chinese government identified four scourges on their society and set out to eradicate them. They were: rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows. It was determined that these four animals were destroying Chinese health and their food supply. (Sparrows ate the seeds for various crops). The entire population of mainland Communist China was mobilized and motivated to rid their country of the Four Pests.
To make a long and weird story short, they succeeded in purging the country of sparrows, driving certain species to near extinction, but since sparrows fed on locusts, those populations exploded unchecked and devoured a large percentage of the country’s crops which led to the Great Chinese Famine in the early 60’s, resulting in the deaths of over 20 million people.
That’s the very definition of the concept of unintended consequences!
Every one of us has our own personal Four Pests Campaign. We might call them our “if only” list. These are not things that would improve your life if you had them, these are things that you think would improve your life if they were gone, eradicated or eliminated from your life entirely.
Debt, disease, discouragement, depression, discord, etc.
Get rid of these things and your life is better.
A friend of mine who owned his own business mentioned that his work would be a lot of fun if it wasn’t for customers. (he was joking…I think) I am sure that teachers, doctors, car mechanics, retailers, scientists, salespersons and star athletes have their own lists of Four Pests they could live without.
Authors, publishers and even agents have their own individual lists of Four Pests.
Publishers would like to get rid of:
Authors would love to get rid of:
- Wasted effort
- Author platforms
The list for agents probably contains some of the same elements of the author and publisher lists.
Funny thing about the items listed above, while all of them have some varying levels of pain associated with them, they are also the very things that make publishing interesting and challenging. It is also those things that sharpen and hone our skills. Maybe you have heard it said about any number of other worthwhile pursuits…if it were easy, then everyone could do it.
The “pests” you have in your life are also the tools that God uses to sharpen us and make us rely more on his faithfulness.
And all those great fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5? There isn’t a qualifier that those are present in the absence of pests. They are apparent in spite of pests.
By the way, more recently, China implemented a new Four Pests campaign, replacing sparrows with cockroaches, which no one complains about killing.