Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The Amazing Gopher Tortoise
The gopher tortoise is a very important part of the local ecology. As in any food web, if you start taking certain flora or fauna out of the equation, then you can adversely affect the survival of that ecosystem. The gopher tortoise is especially important because the burrows, which are dug by the tortoises, also provide homes for other animals, such as indigo snakes, gopher frogs, mice, foxes, skunks, opossums, rabbits, quail, armadillos, burrowing owls, snakes, lizards, frogs, toads and other invertebrates, gopher tortoise burrows are home to about 250 species of animals at one time or another. Some species share the burrows with the tortoises and others utilize abandoned burrows. Since the burrows are used by so many species, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that removing the tortoises from the local habitat would leave many animals without homes. True, some of these animals will be able to relocate, but there are a few species that are found only in these burrows.
How odd that this one turtle has so many things dependent on it? When we think about the path we make in this world, rarely do we think about the people that my come after us. Of course, we consider our children and try to make the world a better place for them. But what if we lived our lives knowing that each thing we do could positively or negatively influence 250 people afterwards?
It makes the decision to return a phone call or take a quick nap more than just a task to check off. It makes you decide priorities. Knowing what my priorities are help me to impact more people in a more efficient way. If I am to love God, love my neighbor, and love myself, then I've got to do things that reach those goals. Perhaps I need a nap today to take care of myself or perhaps I need to love my friend right now by calling her.
So just as the gopher tortoise digs burrows in order to have abundant life, I too must do everything I do with the purpose of having abundant life by sticking to the priorities God teaches me.
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