Complacency isn’t a word that usually comes to mind when I think of coyotes. But after seeing a complacent coyote, I decided perhaps I needed to think about the word more often.
For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.Proverbs 1:12 NLT
Coyotes in the Park
“Do Not Feed the Coyotes,” the sign at the entrance to the park read. It scarcely registered, because I had come to look for birds, not coyotes. Maricopa County in southern Arizona has a giant network of parks and preserves, and I always bird at one of their parks when I visit the area.
As I drove along, I saw a coyote trotting near the road. “Huh, that doesn’t seem safe,” I thought to myself. A few miles down the road, I noticed a coyote sniffing a truck parked in a trailhead parking lot. I pulled in, grabbed my camera, and rolled down my window. Just because I came looking for birds didn’t mean I would give up an opportunity for a close-up shot of a coyote!
As soon as he heard my window rolling down, the coyote trotted over to me. “Get out of here!” I said. “I’m not allowed to feed you, Buddy.” He wandered around my vehicle. With a final sniff at the back fender, he trotted to a bush near the road, stretched, and laid down.
I turned my vehicle so I could get better shots without getting out. For the next thirty minutes, I shot photos and marveled at the coyote’s complacency. Vehicles passed by within five feet of where he had settled in. Another coyote wandered up behind him and they exchanged some secret coyote signal. The second coyote crossed the road to take up residence under a different bush.
A beetle scrabbled across the gravel and walked between the coyote’s outstretched paws. He pricked up his ears and stared down at it, but didn’t move. Once, he stood up and stretched slowly.
Complacency in Coyotes…and Me
When I lowered my camera lens, I had dozens of photos—and a lot to think about. As I continued my drive, I saw three more coyotes casing parked cars, and another two near the road. Each one looked fat and sleek with a thick winter coat.
The sign at the entrance combined with the appearance and behavior of the coyotes all pointed to a complacency problem. Who knows how it started—maybe a friendly dog lover tossing a bite of sandwich to a cute coyote? Perhaps the coyotes started their habit by raiding trash cans or interrupting picnics.
Whatever the case, they no longer fear humans. Their complacency made me wonder about areas in my life where I have let sin and unhealthy attitudes creep in.
The devil dresses sin up in pretty packages, and a gal can easily forget what’s under the wrappings. Sometimes I watch things I know aren’t right happen but fail to speak up. Other times, I trot along next to danger or even park myself right next to it—knowing I should distance myself.
Can complacency turn into sin? A sin of omission, a sin of staying silent, a sin of not acting in love. May I always stay hungry for a closer relationship with Jesus and avoid the devil’s handouts.
Have you found yourself struggling with complacency?