Dead Flies


“Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink!
Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor.”
Ecclesiastes 10:1 NLT

Dead flies. Solomon sure knows how to elicit a visceral reaction from me. Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink. I don’t care what it is, if something around me is stinky, I really struggle keeping my focus. At a recent school function, I couldn’t even focus on why we were there because there was this wretched death-smell near us. My husband smelled it, too – he thought it was me. The entire time, the both of us kept trying to figure out what the horrible smell was. Finally, once we got home, we realized the whole time we were smelling dog poop that we didn’t realize was on our youngest son’s shoe.

Dead flies, dead poop (versus live?), dead anything can absolutely overpower the beauty of even the richest perfumes. That is definitely not earth shattering information. But then Solomon ties that same concept to something that did take me outside the box.

Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor. (Ecc. 10:1b NLT)

One ounce of foolishness is the dead fly in this scenario. All the perfume or wisdom or honor in the world can still be overshadowed by it. It reminds me of the verse about love:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV)

All of these references: the dead flies, the ounce of foolishness, the loveless words – each of them have the ability to overpower the sweetest of moments if I let them remain unchecked in my life. It leads me to ask myself:

  • Where am I letting dead flies hang out in my home?
  • Where am I mentally storing ounces of foolishness?
  • Where am I speaking loveless words of wisdom?

For the past six years, I have left an area of my life go unchecked because I thought I deserved a break with all the other hard work I do. I figured it was okay with God, too, because he sees how hard I work in the other areas. I didn’t think that a loving God would really make me surrender ALL the areas of my life to him – especially when that one remaining area is just filled with cookies and treadmill-aversion. The fact of the matter is, Solomon’s wisdom is true. No matter how great every other area of my life is going, the results of my foolish, unhealthy choices usually overshadow the joy of everything else.

Then I remember why I still have hope beyond my dead flies:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV)

His one son died and rose so that I could smell of the sweetest perfumes, have blessings of wisdom and honor, and love beyond clanging gongs. And because of that I know I can surrender my will to him – he’s the one that reverses every wage of sin. Why wouldn’t I surrender every area of my life to him? He’s the reason I have a life!


Dear Lord, thank you for taking the burden of my dead flies, my ounces – even pounds – of foolishness, and my loveless words with you when you died on the cross. Thank you for finishing my need to be perfect once and for all. Help me to remember this every moment I feel insecure. Amen.

photo credit: <a href=”″>fly</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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