Matthew 6:8
“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

We’ve all heard the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” It’s usually offered to encourage someone to put in more effort. While there are benefits to hard work, it’s not exactly accurate to say that God helps those who help themselves.

Born to house huntHermit crabs are one of the most industrious creatures you will find at the seashore. They never seem completely happy with the shell they have chosen for their home. They seem constantly to try on new shells. Sometimes a hermit crab will try on the new find, return to its old shell, and try on the new shell again just to see which one offers the most comfortable fit.

Obviously there is more to this story than just the fussiness of the hermit crab. God gave hermit crabs the ability to sense calcium – the stuff of which shells are made. Hermit crabs can even sense dissolved calcium from buried shells. Research shows that a hermit crab favors shells that have the most calcium, as long as it’s a comfortable fit.

If hermit crabs were unable to find the shells with the most calcium – the strongest shells – hermit crabs could endanger their lives by adopting unsuitable homes. God gave the hermit crab its special abilities before the hermit crab started using those abilities to help itself. As we review our own accomplishments, we do well to apply the lesson of the hermit crab to ourselves and learn to use the talents He has given us.

I thank You, dear Father, that You are a generous God who knows what we need and gives it to us even before we know to ask. I especially thank You that I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, for I could never meet Your perfect standards on my own. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Hermit Crab Goes House-Hunting.” 1982. Science News, Mar. 6, p. 153. Photo: Outside of its protective shell, the soft abdomen of the hermit crab is vulnerable. Photographed by Arnstein Rønning. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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