Most of the time, I go to work, do my job and don’t think about how many unusual skills I require as a penguin keeper at a zoo. When I have a volunteer come to help me, watching them fumble through what seems normal to me brings it to light. Here is a short list of the unique skills needed in my job.
– separating individual fish from a large frozen block without damaging them
– estimating just how many fish make up a pound
– slipping wet vitamin capsules into the gills of fish
– throwing fish accurately into a pelican’s mouth over a distance of up to 15 feet
– hand grabbing twenty-six penguins for monthly weighing without injury… to animals or fingers
– starting a run-down pool pump first try, using only its sound to fine tune it
As I said, this is only the short list. Other keepers would add other skills to this list, varying by their area of work. Hoofstock keepers can sift poo out of sand and soil using only a rake and a shovel. Keepers of nocturnal animals can find their animals in near darkness. Primate keepers have to have eyes in the back of their heads, fine tuned to spot anything that could become a tool in the hands of an ape too smart for its own good. And all keepers can at least understand, if not mimic and use the communications of their animals – vocalizations and body language.
People in other professions gain skills useful only in their particular vocations. As Christians, we gain an ability that is completely unique, something the unsaved can’t do. We can walk straight into God’s throne room and talk to Him about anything. Jesus opened the doors for us, allowing us to go to the Father at anytime, for any reason. I know that I often have to ask God simply for the strength to put on my pleasant face in front of visitors when I’m exhausted, busy or in pain. Other times, I’ve gone to God with things that seem silly, like the health of one of my penguins or for a stubborn bird to come in for dinner. I pray often for my safety in a slippery exhibit and for the safety of everyone who walks daily into the possible dangers of working with unpredictable animals. Every time I think that what I’m asking is trivial, I gain a peaceful feeling that God heard, understood and didn’t think it was trivial at all.
It is the lack of this ability to go to God for everything that makes me sad when I watch the unsaved fumble through life’s challenges. The best thing we can do is pray for them. Pray for them to understand God’s offer of salvation and accept it. And never forget that God is listening, no matter what we talk to Him about.