Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion August 21, 2019

I have always had a fascination with alligators.  I just think they are nifty looking and a very mysterious.  The sainted husband who sometimes has this quirky sense of humor wants to get a blow up alligator and put it on the edge of our pond, in the weeds, for people to see and ponder….. Is there really an alligator there?
We haven’t done that but for years I really wanted to see a real live alligator.  Once we went to my son’s house in Mississippi and we drove around and I saw some swamp areas and was really hoping to see an alligator but didn’t and I was quite disappointed.  I did notice they actually had signs up places for ‘Alligator Tours’ but there wasn’t time for that and no one else seemed to be particularly interested in looking for alligators.
So my desire to see an alligator traveled with me through the years as I kept thinking how neat it would be to see an alligator.  Even though I read these reports about people and animals getting snatched by alligators as they walked along paths I was sure that would never happen to me and if I did get to see an alligator I would respectfully stay far enough away from said alligator that I probably wouldn’t be snatched.  
In fact there were family members who would shake their heads at me whenever an alligator would come on TV or there would be some other alligator reference somewhere because they would know that whenever the alligator image appeared they would hear me say - ‘Boy, some day I would like to see an alligator’.  Eye rolls would accompany the shaking of heads and I am really surprised they didn’t take up a collection to send me somewhere to see an alligator and I imagine at that very moment they wouldn’t be disappointed if I was snatched by that alligator - at least they wouldn’t have to listen to me say repeatedly that I wanted to see an alligator.
Then it happened!!  And I am here to tell the tale but I wasn’t very smart and I figure there were angel protectors around me because I didn't think the alligator seeiing through very well!
The sainted husband and I took a couple days to go to the beach - and there came hurricane warnings as soon as we checked into our hotel on the beach so we weren’t allowed on the beach.  We, of course, needed to find alternate means of entertainment because the sainted husband didn’t like the idea of just sitting on the balcony reading all day which sounded perfectly fine to me! So he spent some time googling all the ‘other than the beach’ activities in the area and found some civil war site and that became our entertainment option for the day.  It was my turn to roll my eyes but I went anyway.
On the way to the Civil War site we passed a bog with a body of water and bullrushes and cat tails and such and a sign that said, “Beware of the Alligators” and I insisted we stop on the side of the road by the sign because I was sure there were alligators hanging out by the sign or they wouldn’t have put the sign there.  Maybe my time had finally come and I was going to get to see my alligator!
And I wasn’t disappointed! There, literally right below the “Beware of the Alligators” sign was an alligator.  Now all you could see was the top of his head - you know alligators and how they lurk in the water and all you see are these two eyes above the water as it waits to capture its prey - That is what makes alligators fascinating; that mysterious almost underwater reptile patiently waiting for just the right moment…
So in my excitement I jump out of the car and run towards the bog and the waiting alligator, the sainted husband yells “Get back in the car”, I realize he is right that this lying in wait gator could at any moment have decided that I looked like a nice juicy meal and from the nature shows on TV I know they can jump out of that water in a flash and so I got back in the car and the gator must have been well fed because it raised up his head to prove to me he really was a gator and that I was pretty dumb and pretty lucky… but I finally got to see a gator and now no one has to listen to me say, “I want to see an alligator” and I am sure they are glad about that!
My insistent saying of “I want to see an alligator” reminds me of God’s call to each of us to be a witness to the love and grace of Jesus Christ.  Jesus told us to go and tell people what he has taught us, but I think there are ways to do that where people actually listen and ways to do that which cause people to roll their eyes and shake their heads and actually avoid us….
The best way to show our faith and trust in Jesus Christ is not by exasperating people with our constant banter, but to live our lives in the manner Jesus modeled for us.  People notice - we don’t have to point it out or draw attention to it or remind people, “Look at me, I’m living as Jesus told me to”.  People notice.
Of course we have the opportunity to say something when people ask us and we should, but like my alligator weary family, if we drone on and on about how they ‘need Jesus’ they just tune it out or avoid us and that certainly doesn’t help in our desire for others to live in the joy and peace of a life lived for Jesus.  
You know my family got to the point they were switching the channel quickly on the TV whenever the hint of an alligator would appear, so don't live a life where people tune you out because you keep prattling on but live a life of love and commitment and know that through the work of God and the Holy Spirit people will come to know Jesus through you - and you won’t have to say a word!