Alvin the tortoise was lazy. He loved to sleep the day away. Yes, every now and again someone would knock on his door and he would stir. But as soon as they were gone, he’d be back to doing what he loved best—sleeping.
Of course, sometimes when people woke him up it was for something important, something where they needed his help. And sometimes he would say, yes, he would love to help. But as soon as they were gone, he’d be back to sleep. And he hardly ever did the things that he promised.
Now it didn’t take long before people realised what Alvin was like. As a consequence, it wasn’t long before they stopped calling on him for his help. And little by little, while Alvin slept the world began to change. But Alvin didn’t know it because he was far too busy doing what he loves best—sleeping.
However, one notable day, Alvin woke up, and for some reason felt far more awake than he’d been for a long time. So he stepped out of bed and stepped out of his front door. And whoa, the world outside was very different to what he’d remembered.
‘Perhaps I’m dreaming,’ he thought. But he wasn’t. Things had really changed whilst he’d been sleeping, and he wasn’t sure that he liked what he saw.
And then he realised that people had asked for his help for the very things that he was seeing. And some of the things were the things that people had said that they wanted to avoid. But this was a different world for Alvin. And when faced with it, he just didn’t know how he would cope.
Everything was strange; everything was different. And at this point, Alvin realised that he had to make a choice. He could struggle with what he saw and learn to accept the changes—and maybe, even help make better changes—or he could simply go back to bed and get some sleep.
And do you know what it was that he chose?
Yes, you’re right. Alvin simply turned around, closed the door, and went back to bed. And as he slept the world outside changed once again.
Now today’s story is a sad story. It’s a story about a tortoise who was lazy. When asked for help he sometimes said “Yes”. But even when he did, he simply turned around and went back to bed. He preferred to step back and not get involved and to spend his time in blissful rest. So the world just moved on without him.
And, sadly, there are plenty of people like Alvin. People who prefer to step back and not get involved. Then when they do lift up their heads, they find that life has moved on without them, and they are not sure how to cope either.
But that is not the Christian way. Indeed as Christians we are encouraged not to ignore the ever-changing world. Indeed, we are encouraged to be instigators of change, particularly in regard to restoring God’s values and rejecting the things that are not.
According to the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, we are not to be lazy, but we are to imitate the active faithful people who have gone before us.
And if we do that, not only will we be involved in the process of this continually changing world—hopefully for the better. But we will also become closer to God.
Alvin the lazy tortoise may be a sad story. But it’s also a reminder of our need to help and to be involved.
Posted 24th May 2019
© 2019, Brian A Curtis