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The Grizzly Tour Guide

by Roy Platt

On one particular day in Alaska I went to Denali Park and hopped an 8 hour tour bus to see more mountain grandeur.  A tall, burly faced, Alaskan tour guide knew his stuff, as he drove us ‘lower 48’er’s, lecturing us on the wondrous peculiarities of Alaska.  Of course, he talked about the top of the food chain, the grizzly bear, and how it dominates the food and life cycle of many kinds of animals.  “The grizzly’s diet helps maintain a balance of nature through the culling of the weak and injured,” he said.  A shouted question from a female ‘lower 48er’ came from the back of the bus.  “What happens to the bears when there is no more food?”  Tour guide answer: “They look for other kinds of food.”  Lower 48er:  “What happens if they don’t find any?”  Tour guide: “They move to another habitat area and exploit available resources.”  Lower 48er:  “But if there is not enough food in that area then what do they do?”  Tour guide: “They will continue hunting and foraging till they find a habitat that is food abundant.”  Lower 48er:  “But won’t they get worn out looking for food all the time?”  Tour guide:  “As long as the grizzly keeps looking it will find food—and the bear knows that—there is no such thing as a dumb grizzly.” (I could tell he was getting tired of this). Lower 48er: “OOOH …OK…I didn’t think about that.”

   Kind of telling isn’t it? In the American human species mindset (or, at least in this one female ‘lower 48er’s mind) the food is supposed to come to you, or at the very least, be nearby enough as to require minimal effort (code: no work) for harvest. 

   I know…I know.  Food is at the grocery store for us and we go and get it.  But, it does take money.  EUREKA!!  THAT’S IT!!  We get our food by WORKING for it.  Paul said to the Thessalonians, “…we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."  We don’t necessarily go uh-hunting for our food but we do go uh-hunting for our job to earn money to buy our food…or…do we??? 

   The grizzly mom and dad board the tour bus with their two cubs with a bunch of other tourist animals (elk, sheep, wolves, eagles) to go through the park to see all the wonderful things in nature in hopes of glimpsing some grazing (working) humans.  The tour guide, a bearded, more grayer and wiser bear, introduces himself to the group and off they go into the wilderness.  The tour guide explains to the group about the wonders of the park and its human inhabitants and their ability to work, earn money, and buy food.   A shouted question from the mama grizzly came from the back of the bus.  “What happens to the humans when there is no more work to earn money to buy food.”  Tour guide answer: “Well, it used to have been that they would migrate (move) to other areas in the park (nation) where work is more plentiful.  But nowadays they feel that migration (moving) is too much trouble and disruptive.”  Mama grizzly:  “What happens if they don’t find any work after that?”  Tour guide: “Well, then their government pays them benefits for up to 2 years for not finding work in their habitat.”  Mama Grizzly: “Well, what happens when their benefits run out?”  Tour guide:  “Well, then they lose their homes, their families, and they starve, right where they are.”  Mama Grizzly:  (silently) “Tsk. Tsk. How sad? Tsk. Tsk.”

                          Roy Platt is Minister of the Jennings Church of Christ, Jennings, LA.


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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33