In the New Testament, the dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Thousands of visitors to the San Juan Capistrano Mission in Southern California try to catch the white doves that flock in the ancient mission. They reach out with their hand, fingers open, and, just as they are about to grasp the feet of the dove, it flaps its wings and flies away.
So they try again.
They reach out with their hand cautiously, carefully, and slowly, and, just as they are about to grab the bird, it escapes again.
The secret, however, is to simply extend the hand, hold it straight in front, open the palm, wait quietly in a submissive manner, and the dove will come and rest right in the middle of the person’s hand.
The surrender of our lives to God is the key to meeting Him.1
James tells us to “submit to God” (James 4:7). “Submit” is a military term, “to place” or “to rank under.” It also means “to subject oneself, obey.”2
Nelson, the great admiral, always treated his vanquished opponents with the greatest kindness and courtesy.“Your sword first,” he said, “and then your hand.”
After one of his naval victories, the defeated admiral was brought aboard Nelson’s flagship, and on to Nelson’s quarter-deck.
Knowing Nelson’s reputation for courtesy, and thinking to trade upon it, he advanced across the quarter-deck with hand outstretched, as if he was advancing to shake hands with an equal. Nelson’s hand remained by his side.
“Your sword first,” he said, “and then your hand.”
Before we can be the friends of God, we must first submit to Him.3
“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender” (General William Booth).4
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- Robert H. Schuller, Your FutureiIs Your Friend, Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, CT, 1974, pp. 83 – 84.
- Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the Greek New Testament, Hendrickson Publishers, P. O. Box 3473, Peabody, MA, 01961-3473, Copyright 1974, pp. 323 and 359.
- William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume I (Chapters 1 to 10), The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Copyright 1975, p. 32..