Friday, July 8, 2011
Lessons From a Gopher Tortoise
One of the interesting facts about the gopher tortoise is that they are much like a cow with a shell since they enjoy eating vegetation. This results in helping to spread seeds for a variety of plants. While out on a stroll one day across Serenity Acres, I discovered this big fellow headed for his burrow. He did not seem to mind my presence as he knew he was well protected.
A second characteristic of the gopher tortoise is that he carries his house wherever he goes. When we become believers, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and thus, become a vessel for God's glory. In fact, a church is not a building downtown some where. We are the church of Jesus Christ, and a temple for God's own glory. Therefore, our conduct is important. We are representatives of the Lord. I Corinthians 3:16-17 reads: "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple." Then again, in I Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul says: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. But you were bought with a price so glorify God in our body."
From these passages, we learn that we are to take care of these bodies of ours for the Holy Spirit dwells there. He calls us to holy and righteous living when we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ. It is important, therefore, to take care of our physical body and remember that how we walk in this world is a living demonstration of the church each day. Our speech, conduct and thoughts reflect the heart. As a result, keeping our temples clean is paramount to being a real witness to others. Like the gopher tortoise carrying his home with him everywhere he goes, we also carry the Spirit of God who dwells within our earthly vessel.
Finally, the gopher tortoise is slow but steady. People may make fun of his inability to move quickly, but in the end, he gets where he is going. Nothing stands in his way. He knows where his burrow is and he keeps right on moving towards it. What a lesson for us! We should be like that tortoise moving at a steady pace towards the goal of the high calling in Christ. Heaven is our home so we know where we are heading. With this in mind, we need to press on daily just like the gopher tortoise heading back to his burrow. He doesn't get side tracked, confused, worried, or upset. He just keeps plodding along.
Just like the gopher tortoise, we have the armor to protect us, the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives each day that we carry about as a witness for God's glory, and the slow, steady pace of Christian growth that will lead us ever onward to our heavenly home. Isn't it amazing how God's creation points back to the Creator and teaches us wondrous lessons if we will only look? Let us remember that God has given to us all that we need for life and godliness.... may we be faithful to use the tools He has graciously placed in our hands. Selah!
I welcome your thoughts here. Please feel free to leave your comments and words of encouragement.