Turtles and gratitude
David BurchettDavid Burchett's weblog
- 2006 May 05
A few minutes later I checked on the turtle that Hannah had discovered. The turtle had managed to fall into our pool and it was apparent that land turtles cannot swim. I looked for the leaf skimmer but noticed we had had the brush attached. In the meantime the poor little thing was flailing and stretching it's neck as much as it could to try to break the surface. It was clear the turtle was doomed without some help. So I jumped in and saved the turtle. I don't want to overstate the case. I wasn't dressed in an Armani suit with Italian loafers. I was just in shorts and a t-shirt. But I got pretty soaked in the waist deep water that the turtle had "shelly-flopped" into. I put the turtle back on land and he simply crawled away. I dried off and wondered how many people in America rescue box turtles from pools on any given day. I might be the only one in the whole country today that earned a turtle rescue merit badge.
Later I reflected on the turtle's response. Once I put him down he just went on his way. No thank you. No nod of his scaly noggin. Nothing. And I didn't care because I didn't rescue the turtle with any expectations that I would receive anything. It was just the right thing to do because one of God's creatures was in distress.
That response made me wonder about some of my motives when I reach out to others. If I don't receive a response I sometimes get perturbed. If there is not acknowledgement of my "heroics" I feel hurt or angry. When I simply do the right thing for one of God's struggling creatures should I expect anything in return? What is my reason for helping if I do? I know the turtle was incapable of a response. Maybe some of the people we come in contact are nearly as incapable of gratitude at that point in their journey.
I am grateful that the turtle could not response. He made me think about why I serve the Lord. Is for Him or for me? If it is for Him I won't care if I do the right thing and the recipient just goes on their way. Solomon wrote this in Proverbs...
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act. Prov 23 NIV
So next time you do a kind thing make that act your reward. Just representing Jesus is thanks enough.