Saturday, June 4, 2011


This week I learned more about tortoises than I had anticipated. For instance, the plural of tortoise really is tortoises and not torti like I originally thought. There are some different answers floating around the web as to what the proper name is for a group of tortoises. A group of turtles is called a "bale" and some say this goes for tortoises as well. Other answers were a "herd" or "fleet". My personal favorite was, "a creep" or tortoises, named such for their slow movement. Listed below are some other interesting facts about these reptiles. 
The key differences between Tortoises and Turtles
Yellow Spotted South American Tortoise
You may be wondering, "Why the sudden fascination with tortoises?", and I will tell you. This past week, Molly and I took a few days away from the city for our one year anniversary. It was a good time to get away and reflect on all of God's blessings over the past year. The place we stayed at had lots of interesting exhibits like a mariposario (butterfly sanctuary), aviario (bird sanctuary), and a tortoise sanctuary (sorry no fancy name). One day as we were walking past the tortoise exhibit we looked over to see four stubby and scaly legs flailing about. One of the tortoises (We'll call him FLIP) had somehow gotten flipped upside down. 
As he struggled to rock his shell back and forth and get himself righted, there were others creeping along about the habitat. It seemed like no one noticed their fellow reptile in distress. Those that were close and could help just minded their own business. The whole scene reminded me of the story of "The Good Samaritan". 

Luke 10:32-34

The Message (MSG)
 30-32Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
 33-35"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I'll pay you on my way back.''

So you're probably wondering, "What ever happened to the tortoise?" After several minutes of struggling, rocking back and forth, and flailing around his legs, he somehow got up enough momentum to flip himself over. He laid there for a while not moving. We imagined he was just catching his breath. Then a larger and seemingly older tortoise came over to him. I promise you it looked like they were having a conversation. In my mind it went something like this...

FLIP: Whew. I thought I would never get back up right. 
OLD TORT: I was on my way over to help ya, but you know I'm not as fast as I used to be. 
FLIP: That's fine Old Tort, but what about these guys who were standing around me the whole time just munching grass? Talk to them man. All I needed was a little nudge. I wasn't asking for much. 

 After a minute, Flip just turned around and walked away from all those who had stood around him and had offered him no help. He headed for the far side of the habitat as if he was trying to really send them a message of his discontentment. 

A few weeks ago my good friend, Dylan Does, preached a message from the passage in Luke. It really made me stop and think. Take a listen. I hope it challenges you too. 

Here is the link to the sermon audio : "GRACE VALUES"

Bryan & Molly

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