Monday, May 17, 2010

Beavers, Dams and Serving Jesus

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I was headed off to have a Day with the Lord.  I meant to share a bit about that immediately afterward, but I find that I have a difficult time putting into words my serious spiritual experiences... I can't just slap them together and throw them on the blog for public consumption.

One thing that interests me on my little getaways like this is "applying my heart" to the things that I see.  The idea behind this comes from the Proverbs, when Solomon wrote that he saw a broken down wall.  He said that he applied his heart to what he saw and then comes to the proverb itself, "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come upon you like a bandit, scarcity like an armed man."

I try to take this sort of thinking with me on days like this and see what I can learn from observing the world around me, and trying to listen to the Lord in the context of my surroundings.

On this particular day, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon my first close-up beaver dam and lodge.  It started when I saw this tree:


I had never seen anything like this.  In fact, my first thought was, "Hmmm... that's how it looks in a cartoon when a beaver has been eating a tree."  Genius, I know.

I was amazed as I looked around and noticed more and more trees that had been chewed down.  Some of the trees were fifteen or twenty feet tall, and some had been fell and then stripped of their smaller branches.  Then I came across the dam, which was actually quite impressive, when you stop to think about how it is made:


And here's the lodge:

The lodge, as you probably know, has a hole in the bottom so that the only entrance is through the water.  Inside the lodge it's dry and warm and safe from predators.

Anyway, as I spent time thinking about and reflecting on our friends the beavers (I never saw one, by the way... I assume they were safely snuggled up in their lodge) I thought about this: here we have an animal a little larger than a cat which can chop down trees, build dams and build homes for themselves.  The scale of their accomplishments seem ridiculous to me.  If, for instance, someone were to give me a set of sharp knives and tell me to build a dam and a lodge, I don't know that I could replicate their industrious constructions.

Beavers are designed to do this marvelous thing.  Through industry, perseverance and a singular vision they accomplish something that I would say is impossible if I didn't already know it existed.  I wonder if I can't be like a beaver.  Is there any reason that I can't take what meager abilities/skills/tools that I have and use those to accomplish unbelievable things for the glory of God?  I don't think there is.  Certainly if I am willing to work hard and persevere and follow whatever blueprints he gives me, I don't see why this couldn't be the case.  If a thirty pound mammal can alter the geography of an entire area, there's no reason that I can't accomplish something amazing for the Lord.

My good friend Shasta sent me an article about the largest beaver dam in the world, which has been built by several generations of beavers.  Pretty amazing.

Anyway, this was one small bit of my day, but I thought I would share.  I want to take every little skill I have and use it to accomplish unbelievable, amazing things for God....