Turtles And People — Endangered Species?

January 26, 2013
by Diane Eaton

Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. (NIV)

Have you ever considered people to be an endangered species — like the snapping turtle? The elderly man whom I interviewed about his hobby of rescuing turtles had once been "endangered" himself. As a young adult, he became lured by his peers into a habit of drinking. Eventually, alcoholism threatened to destroy his life. He got so desperate that he cried out to God to rescue him. He saw God as his only hope — thanks to the early influence of his Christian mother and church background.

He shared with me, through tears, how God had mercifully rescued him and had set him totally free from his addiction to alcohol. Ever since then, he claims, God's love has never ceased to be new and fresh every day. And that's why he is so full of exuberant joy. It's obvious that he is a Christian who dearly loves the Lord.

This man has reasons to be sad. He lives alone. Few people come by anymore. They are busy in their own lives, he notes. But God is his companion, and that is why he is content. He shared with me how he often finds himself on his knees, crying out in praise and thanksgiving for God's goodness toward him. In our conversation, he said, "Why does God keep on being so good to me? I don't understand it! But I know he'll never forsake me now. Never!"

Frequently he goes downtown and visits the coffee shop. There, he shares his joy in the Lord. People listen. They like him because they see so much love in him.

He doesn't just help turtles; he helps people, too. In spite of his meager income, he freely gives as he sees the need. He said, "When I go to the bank, I see that God always keeps my account balanced. I can't out-give God."

He can see God's goodness on every turtle-rescuing mission — even if he doesn't spot any turtles. He saw a bluebird one day instead. That's a rare sighting around here!

I got thinking: In my mission to find a story for the paper, I myself had spotted a "bluebird". Discovering such a beautiful believer is indeed a rare sighting.

This is the kind of Christian that you and I do well to see — to remind us what real faith looks like. That man inspired me: I want to have faith and joy like him. He told me that I had encouraged him by being interested in his testimony. In other words, I had honoured him. So he even taught me more about honouring one another. What a discovery he was!

Prayer: Lord, bless us with the presence of those who reflect vibrant and mature faith. May we be eager to honour them by listening to their faith stories. In turn, may we find ourselves encouraged to persevere and grow in faith. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for a good word Diane.


    Dear Diane: You are right, there is nothing like warm Christian fellowship!


    Thank you for sharing that beautiful story of a life well lived. It is a good reminder of the possibility in each one of us.


    Dear Diane:
    I appreciated your insightful devotional today. Some folk are so lovely, they just stand out from the crowd.
    Bless you for noticing and being inspired to tell us.


    Thanks for this devotional. In our home we are deeply devoted to the protection of all animals. We are ever concious od the second last verse of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
    He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small;
    For the dear God who loveth us,
    He made and loveth all.


    Good Morning, Diane:
    What an inspirational devotional this morning and what a challenge to live so close to our Lord that we reflect Him in every encounter we have – animal or people. Thank you. I too would like to be so filled with joy and contentment – a living testimony!
    Blessings as you live a little closer to Him today. I too will try to live this testimony too!


    Diane,
    A lovely two day devotional. You have both honoured and blessed this dear “bluebird” Christian by sharing his testimony so beautifully.
    It is amazing how much good we see in the world around us when we see through eyes of love, as this dear gentleman has modeled for us.
    A wonderful example of the joy found and shared through the disciplined walk of Christian love.
    Blessings.


    Dear Diane:
    Thank you for another excellent devotional. The elder man’s comment about how God always keeps his account balanced and how you can’t outspend God recalls to mind an episode told by a pastor. His previous assignment had been to a small church. The church had a $300,000 endowment (lot of money in that time and place) which had been bequeathed to the church and the congregation had zealously guarded over the years.
    He believed that the money was merely a tool to be spent in doing the Lord’s work and not so much miser’s gold to hoarded against an uncertain future. So he set himself the goal of spending it all during his term at the church, which he did!
    By the time his term was up, the hoard was gone: spent on various works and church projects. However, then, as he would recount, lo and behold member of the church died and left it an even bigger bequest.
    As your friend noted, you truly cannot outspend the Lord. He will provide if we keep the faith.
    Grace and peace.

 



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