Sonic hedgehog (shh) and tiggywinkle (twhh) are the names given to two genes which cause beneficial but destructive changes in cavefish embryos. Not in all fish of that species, only in those which live in deep, lightless caves off the Mexican coast. Being able to see would be no use to them in the pitch darkness and so the genes order the destruction of the eyes’ lens at an early stage of their development. By being born blind, the cavefish does not waste energy or brainpower on completely useless eyesight.
Most of us are aware of times when the activity we’re engaged with feels unproductive. Sometimes nevertheless it’s important to persevere because of the possibility and hope that one day it will cease to be so. Some praying and caring falls into this category. Sometimes such apparently unfruitful pursuits are an inevitable part and parcel of a larger project whose value is more obvious. Some jobs are like that. But there are situations which don’t fit those categories where, almost without us realising it, we get caught up in energy-consuming tasks which don’t repay the effort we put into them and never will. Often habit, or an inability to see a way to stop, traps us and stops us extricating ourselves from them.
Over centuries the cavefish have adapted to their environment so that their energy is directed towards constructive activity. God has given human beings the capacity to decide for themselves what’s worth continuing with, and what isn’t, and to make relevant changes now. We have been given freedom to make our own choices, minds capable of finding imaginative ways of disentangling ourselves from useless tasks, and wills with the determination to do it. And God, who’s so full of creativity, wants to help set us free from time-wasting activity which can so easily imprison us.
Read: (Jesus sent out his disciples saying:)Whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you,…say ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you’. (Luke 10.10-11)
Rejoice: in tasks which feel productive.
Reflect: Is there anything I’m involved with which is a waste of valuable energy?
Remember: God perseveres in his relationship with me even when it feels to him to be useless
Resolve: To check that what I do today is what it is right for me to be spending time on.