Seven Turtles on a Log

While fishing, I was standing beside the lake watching seven turtles. One by one, they climbed out of the water onto a log until it was full. Then about ten feet away, the remaining turtles climbed up on another piece of the tree, sticking up until five more were on that branch.

If you do not know, turtles cannot generate their body temperature. They need to sunbathe for about two hours to keep their body temperature up and them functioning normally. All turtles need to do this to survive. What I was watching was an action as old as time as each one emerged to find their spot on the log.

What amazed me is that no one turtle tried to push the other turtles off their spot. With each new visitor, all of them adjusted and made room for one more until there was no longer an inch to spare. All of them willingly shared their space for the betterment of every turtle.

I cannot help but wonder if the turtles knew each other. Maybe they have some unknown language that enables them to communicate with one another. This helps them to get along and be more accepting of the other turtles. Perhaps there is some sort of turtle law that keeps them behaving correctly. If they violate the code, then the rest of the turtles ostracize the offender until he changes his behavior. It could even be that this behavior just makes each turtle feel good inside. Not only do they experience the warmth of the sun on their shell, but warmth inside their shell with their good deed.

My best guess is that this is how God wired them to behave. When the sun is out, and there is room on the log, they instinctively move over so that other turtles will get the sunlight they need to survive. Someone does it for them, and then one day, they return the favor. The world God created is filled with kindness, harmony, and concern for all.

Is it possible that God is trying to get us to do the same thing? Jesus gave us what we call “The Golden Rule.” It teaches us to do to others what we would want them to do to us. The creator of all things wants us to learn to live in community with our fellow man in the most harmonious way possible. Freewill allows us to keep pushing back against his plan, and evil has deceived us into thinking it is a good move. God wants us to share some space on the log. The turtle may be slow, but he is a kind creature, and maybe there is something we can learn from him.

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