Have you ever considered what you could learn from a box turtle? The box turtle is an amazing creature with a remarkable self-preservation system. Imagine a little lad taking a stick and playing around with a box turtle as the small creature was crawling across the lawn toward a small wooded area. How would the box turtle respond? It would draw its head into its shell and close the front door tightly. True. As the box turtle retreats into its shell, the shell actually closes tightly sealing the turtle securely inside.
Well, if the boy patiently sat there and awaited for the turtle to slowly peak and then come out again so he could tease it a little more, would you imagine that the turtle would stay secure inside a little longer each time, in hopes that the next time he poked his head out the little boy would be gone?
Hmmm. Sometimes we can feel poked at and want to withdraw. Oh, it may be the extra stress from dealing with overactive children in a classroom. It may be career, ministry, or family pressures. It could be physical strain from trying to fit a little too much into our daily schedule. But, all of us feel poked at more often than we would like to. And, maybe, just maybe, we have crawled up into our shell for a little security and respite.
Herein lies a subtle danger. Though withdrawing for rest and refreshing is vital to our personal health and growth, there is also the pitfall of permanently withdrawing. Think about it for a moment. What has God called you to in life and ministry? Are you doing what your spirit heard Him call you to?
If the answer is a hesitant ‘most of the time’ or a sheepish ‘not really’, then it could be that you’ve felt poked at so much that you have withdrawn into a shell.
In order for the box turtle to advance, he has to stick his neck out and allow himself to become vulnerable. Yet, he will advance. He will move forward. He will reach his goal.
Remember, God is on your side! He is faithful to assist you in the completion of what He has called you to! Any shell of protection is, in reality, a false sense of safety because your true safety and shelter is in God and God alone!
Take a challenge from the box turtle today. Stick your neck back out and start moving forward in what God has called you to do and to be!
Rev. Gary R. Linn
Children’s Ministry Today