I was in Florida with my family not too long ago… We spent most of our time at the beach playing, collecting shells and just hanging out. It was a blast watching my 3 year old boy play in the waves, by the way… 🙂
We’ve gone to several different beaches over the past few years and one thing we always try to do is collect as many sand dollars as we can find. This year, though, we found a bunch of brown ones instead of the white sand dollars we were expecting. Long story short, we discovered that these were live sand dollars (and, belatedly, that it’s illegal to collect them).
After reading about them, I discovered some really cool stuff…
Sand dollars actually move by taking sea water in through tiny holes and then compressing it out the other side. They are naturally a brownish, somewhat soft shell when alive in salt water. When removed from the water, they can no longer move and are completely helpless. And, if placed in anything other than salt water, they quickly die, harden and turn to a bleached-white color.
As I was reading through Acts 17 the other day, I came across verse 28. Paul is talking to the men of Athens and explaining God to them. (They were worshipping all kinds of different gods but had never heard of the god Paul was talking about.)
In verse 28, he said, “In [God] we live and move and exist.” It struck me that we live in God much like a sand dollar lives in the salt water. As long as we remain in Him, we have the look of someone who follows God. We can move and breathe and exist because He gives us life. Once we leave God, however, we begin to die and harden. We become spiritually brittle and change in appearance. We survive only as long as we remain in God.