This morning I want to talk about turtles. When I was a kid we played with them and I can remember my Dad telling us that if one ever bit us on the finger that it wouldn’t let go till it thundered! We still played with them, it didn’t stop us, it did make us be extra careful around the head area though when we played with them. I can also remember getting so mad at turtles when my dad, Uncle Cecil, cousin Barry and I we would go fishing, it always seemed like when we would set out trotlines or jugs we would end up catching several turtles, talk about disappointment when we would see that ole trot line down in the water going back in forth, we just knew we had a big cat on, then we would pull it up and it would be a couple turtles on it.
When I first moved to Alabama we had a soft shell turtle in our fish tank, for a fish tank he was big, he was about as round as a dinner plate and we keep him in a 55 gallon tank. I loved to sit and watch him, we would feed him gold fish, when we would drop them in the water he would bury himself in the gravel with nothing but his head sticking out and he wouldn’t go after them right away he would let them swim around and they would get closer and closer and become more comfortable with him being there and then they would just swim right up to him and he would grab one.
Some of you may have heard me tell this before, but my all time favorite turtle story happened one day while I was riding down a dirt road just off the B-Line in South Florida with my daddy. As we were going down the road we could see a turtle out in the middle of the road in front of us, as we almost got to it a rabbit ran out and ran right past the turtle. My uncle looked at me and said I have seen it all now little girl, I had always heard about a turtle and a rabbit racing, but I had never seen it, well now I have! I still thank god for letting me share that experience with my family.
I also want to talk about Fence Posts today, I can’t take credit for the idea I read about it in a book. In the book the author was talking about how one night him, his wife and their son and his family were sitting at the dinner table eating and he started telling his son how proud he was of him for what he had accomplished in his life and how he was serving the Lord. His son replied with “Dad I feel like a turtle on a fence post”. His dad said “what”, the son replied with, “how can a turtle get on a fence post”, they all looked puzzled and he said “the only way is for someone to put him there”. He said “dad if it had not been for You and Mom and many others encouraging me and telling me I could make it when things got tough I know I would not be where I am at today”. His dad asked him who some of the others were and the son went on to name many names of family, church members and friends who had been there for him.
The book I’m reading now has a chapter where a man who is friends with the dad of a professional golfer had the chance to golf with the professional. As they walked along together the professional told the man “you know if it hadn’t been for you and he called another man’s name I probably wouldn’t be playing on the tour today. I’m not sure if you remember , but when I was real small and dad would let me tag along and hit a few balls, most men would laugh at me because I would miss the whole ball or only hit 20 yards or so, but not you and he called the other man’s name, ya would always tell me some thing positive like nice swing, you’ll get it next time or when I would hit 20 yards ya would make out like I had just hit it 300 yards and that made me happy, it made want keep playing, to be around you guys and keep trying to improve, and look where I’m at today”.
Men 1st Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build each other up. It’s telling us to put some turtles on some fence posts. These turtles can be young or old. Guys what I want to challenge us to do today, is to open our eyes and see those turtles around us that need to be put on a fence posts, it can be that kid from the housing projects that’s coming to church now, it can be that man we work beside at the factory, it can be another man here in the church, it can be our pastor or our youth guy, it can be our family, our kids or our grand kids. Let’s remember 1st Thessalonians 5:11 and put some turtles on those posts.