A duck appears calm on the surface while paddling like crazy underneath. What can we learn from this example?

First, we learn we cannot judge by appearances. The duck looks calm as he glides along the surface of the pond. Second, we learn the effort in an achievement is often hidden, just as the busy paddling of a duck can only be seen if we look beneath the surface of the water.

This principles can be true in our lives. We may look like we accomplish a task effortlessly, when, in fact, hours of preparation and mental concentration are required to pull it off. Any performer, such as a piano player, ballet dancer or athlete will confirm the energy and focus needed to convey an appearance of ease in their tasks.

Just throw some food into a pond of ducks and you will see that they move very fast to retrieve the food. It takes energy and movement to propel us along, just as a duck must paddle in order to move in the water. We need to know what we want and pursue it. Nothing worthwhile ever comes without effort. We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to press on toward the mark of our high calling in Jesus Christ. We can’t get there just by floating along. We need to paddle.

As the smooth glide of the duck does not betray the activity under the water, so a calm exterior may hide a stomach churning and full of knots. Anyone who does public speaking will agree that the speaker who appears calm is often anything but inside. It has been said most people fear speaking in public even more than they do death. The terror is so great someone once concluded, in jest, that if we were to kill all those preparing to speak, we would be doing them a favor. And then there are those who think the audience would be done a favor as well!

Some never do the thing they fear. Their fear paralyzes them and nothing is accomplished. We need to work toward our goal even though we are frightened. General George Patton said that he never took the counsel of his fears.

The army of Israel, including their leader, King Saul, allowed their fear of Goliath to immobilize them. No doubt David was scared as he walked in the giant’s direction, but David put his trust in God. With faith in God, David could be calm on the outside in spite of fears churning inside as he swung his sling shot with the round stone tucked in it toward Goliath’s head.

We also must conquer our fears and keep on going. David said, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

David must have taught this lesson to his son, for it was Solomon who said, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

God will also direct our paths now as we move forward toward His kingdom. Again it was David who said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Notice as David was moving through dangerous territory, he did not fear, for he put his trust in God who promised to comfort him. God will do the same for us if we will just keep our paddles going in the right direction, seeking first His kingdom.

Robert J. Lloyd

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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