There are dangers of living a life of ease, whether you’re a Christian or a hoary marmot.
Look at these wicked people—Psalm 73:12
enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
I wandered around the parking lot at the Eielson Visitor’s Center in Denali National Park, looking for birds. Instead, I found a fat hoary marmot lounging on a boulder. He looked like a fellow enjoying a life of ease—stretched out in the sun and enjoying a slight breeze. A hoary marmot, the largest in the squirrel family, can weigh up to 10 pounds. With his thick coat of fur, my friend looked like he could weigh much more.
After snapping photos for twenty minutes, I hurried back to the tour bus, determined to find out more about this unique creature.
Hoary marmots really do live a life of ease. They can spend almost half their day sunning themselves—but they won’t go outside if the mosquito population might bother them. They prefer sunning in the breeze. Hoary marmots in Denali spend over half of each year in true hibernation. They enter their dens in September and don’t come out until April.
Like other marmot species, hoary marmots live in large colonies connected by tunnels with dens. They dig their dens deep, making it difficult for bears, coyotes, and wolves to find them. Marmots even use fields of rocks or rocky slopes for protection and camouflage the entrances to their tunnels.
Some call them whistle pigs because they make loud screeching whistles to warn each other of danger. Mature hoary marmots might grow to over two feet long. When they stand on their hind legs, they look more formidable than a 10-pound squirrel.
That’s One Way to Look at It
Of course, that life of ease doesn’t look so pleasant when you think about it. Can you imagine spending half your life in hibernation? And think of how much you’d need to eat during the spring and summer to sustain life over the winter. Hoary marmots gain ten percent of their body weight by eating plants. That’s a lot of salad.
While hoary marmots live in colonies for protection, birds of prey, bears, coyotes, and wolves consider them a tasty treat. Their lives depend on vigilance against enemies and filling themselves with nourishing food.
As a Christian, I’ve often found myself relaxing in my life of ease. I’d rather read one more page (or 50) of the book that has my attention. Instead of nourishing myself with the word of God, I splurge on junk. Rather than keep vigilant in my colony (church community) for others who could use encouragement, kind words, or acts of service, I get all wrapped up in myself. I forget my life depends (both in the here and now and in the hereafter) on my relationship with God.
Father God, help me to use the time you have given me wisely. Let me focus on nourishing my soul. Help me keep my eyes open for ways I can help those who need words of encouragement or those who could use my help. Above all, draw me into a daily relationship with you.