Located in the small town of Enterprise, Alabama, a town about 30 miles north of the Florida state line, stands the world’s only monument in honor of an insect – the Boll Weevil.
The Boll Weevil is a small beetle, thought to be native to Central America. It entered the United States in 1892 from Mexico. It first appeared in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, but by 1909 it had spread across the South (note: it also spread in the 1940s into South America). Its average length is just 6 millimeters. However, it is a big problem for cotton farmers. It feeds upon the cotton plant. It is estimated that this insect has cost U.S. farmers $13 billion, since its appearance. The boll weevil eradication program which began in 1978 has been a great success. Moreover, the appearance of the Fire Ant has also contributed to the Boll Weevil’s decline.
Why would any southern town erect such a monument? This town in the early 1900’s was a cotton town. But then in 1915 came those dreaded boll weevils. Two-thirds of the country’s crop that year was destroyed. The devastation led to agricultural diversification. Many of the farmers turned to the growing of peanuts for income. The result was the local economy was healthier and more vibrant than ever, and the local farmers likewise were more prosperous than ever before. And so, in 1919 the monument was erected to give thanks for the boll weevil.
We too can learn, grow, and mature through diversity. When life is difficult, don’t give up, but adapt. May we use all of life as an opportunity to do good, spiritually grow and draw closer to God (Genesis 50:20-21; Psalm 119:67, 71).