Dose of Truth

Active or passive?

Tim Richards

Sheridan Voysey’s July 23, 2022, Our Daily Bread Devotional caught my attention when he wrote about an animal of which I had never heard. The sea squirt, an extremely strange creature, looks a lot like soft plastic tubes waving in the current.

This weird little sea creature lives a totally passive life which changes dramatically from its infancy to its adulthood. It begins life as a tadpole with a primitive spinal cord and a brain, which helps it find food and avoid harm. When young, it explores the ocean, but upon becoming an adult it stops exploring. This strange little animal attaches itself to a rock and in one of the creepiest twists in the animal kingdom, digests its own brain. From that moment the unthinking little creature lives a completely passive life and continues to exist only by living off the water passing through it.

Obviously, the life cycle of the sea squirt is incredibly unique. More normal beings, including humans, stop physically growing when we reach adulthood, but we never stop learning. As the old saying goes, “an old dog can still learn a new trick.”

Though we are not at all like the sea squirt, there will be times as we age when we will face the temptation to give in to mental stagnation. The tendency to “check out” as we get older is nothing new. The Bible challenges us to resist this unhealthy impulse when it says, “Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8, NLT)

I am not suggesting a lifetime of growth is either automatic or easy, but Peter’s words challenge us to know God better and to resist the temptation to quit growing. If we surrender to mental and spiritual laziness, we will be living opposite of the way God intends.

Voysey concludes his devotional with these words, “this calling to grow is as vital for the 70-year-old as it is for the teenager. God’s nature is as vast as the ocean. We’ve barely swum a few feet.” God wants you and I to continue to learn, to grow in our faith and to eagerly welcome new adventures. As we do this we are embracing the active life God desires for us and rejecting the passive life which lacks meaning and purpose.

Tim Richards

has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at