Life with Lively: Why Do Elephants Have Big Floppy Ears?

Growing up, there was a time that we didn’t have cable. Yes I actually lived in a time when we only had four channels. Saturday afternoons were awful. My parents usually would watch PBS because Saturdays were full of cooking shows. I wasn’t as into cooking shows then as I am now. So I would spend a hot summer afternoon stuck in the house playing with my G.I. Joes until 4:30 when the cooking shows would go off, and my favorite Saturday afternoon show would come on. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, hosted by Marlin Perkins. Every week, this smiling old man would take viewers on an adventure to some exotic place where they would track a herd of animals into open prairie. They would chase the herd with helicopters; they shoot one or two with a tranquilizer gun. The herd would run off, and Marlin Perkins and his crew would circle back and examine the tranquilized creature.
I always loved watching how each animal was built specifically for its environment. Elephants are large creatures; they are able to “bulldoze” their way through heavy brush. Their large, thin ears are full of blood vessels, so they can cool themselves in the African heat. Antelope have tiny feet. They are built that way for speed, agility, and stealth (little feet don’t make as much noise). Even the common housecat was created just for its situation. Its claws are just enough for defense and escaping sticky situations. They prefer to poop in a box of sand, making it easy to housetrain them.
The point I’m trying to make is every one of God’s creatures were created with the things they need to survive their natural environment. Part of his grand design included covering all possible situations that might arise.
God equips us for whatever situation is before us. He gives us abilities that sometimes we never knew we had until that moment arrived and suddenly we find ourselves doing things we never thought possible. Take Moses for instance. We all have this picture in our head that Moses is Charlton Heston, strong build, deep voice, and an eloquent speaker. The truth is, the great classic “The Ten Commandments” would have been more accurate (and in my opinion, more entertaining) if Moses would have been played by Mel Tillis.
Check out Exodus 4:10: Moses raised another objection to GOD: “Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.” Moses had a stuttering problem, but God reassured him. When Moses still was bothered by his lack of faith, God promised that Aaron would be there to stand by his side. Do you notice that all throughout Exodus, when Moses is speaking to Pharaoh, he is credited as the one standing up to Pharaoh. God provided him with the tools he needed to do God’s will.
He does this with us today. God has a plan, it may seem like chaos to us, but it’s a working plan. We all have a part in his plan. Ephesians 4:7-16 says: Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says:
When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity;
He gave gifts to people.
9 But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The One who descended is the same as the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, [growing] into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head —Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

God has provided us with the talents we need for the situation we are serving in. The point is now we have to serve. There is more to being a Christian than just accepting salvation and filling a pew. An elephant would seem awfully out of place if it never pushed its way through the jungle brush. We have talents from God to use for his glory. Find your niche, serve! And use that talent God provided for you. You know you have one.

Brocke Lively is a lifelong Texan from a little town called Olton.
Brocke and his wife, Lela, have 5 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 chickens, and what seems like a revolving door of neighbor kids coming over to play. As a father, Brocke recognizes that how he lives his life, and how he worships God not only reflects on his own salvation, but ripples to how his kids worship God.
Brocke attends a small town church where he is known as an on-call substitute Sunday school teacher. He recognizes that his church family is also a large part of who he is, and who he want his kids to grow up to be; God-fearing followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.