Pelorus Jack: The Helpful Dolphin

Dolphin Deeds
Pelorus Jack was first spotted in 1888 guiding ships through a dangerous channel in New Zealand. Jack would swim alongside the ship for about twenty minutes, leading them past sharp rocks and tight corners. No one knew how Jack learned to do this, but ship captains began to trust him so much that if they did not see the dolphin, they would wait until he appeared. There wasn’t a single shipwreck while he guided them.

In 1904, a sailor on the SS Penguin tried to shoot the dolphin, but Jack fortunately survived. When the New Zealand government found out, they passed a law to protect Jack. As a result, the incredible dolphin continued to guide ships through the channel – that is, every ship except the SS Penguin. Jack stayed far away when they appeared and would not guide them through the channel. Evidently dolphins have a good memory! Without Jack’s help, that ship had to make its way alone. Five years later, the SS Penguin sank in the channel after hitting a rock during a storm. It was a terrible accident. Seventy-five people drowned, and only thirty people survived. It was one of the worst shipwrecks in New Zealand’s history.

The last time anyone saw Jack was in 1912. No one knows what happened to him, but he was twenty-four years old when he disappeared, so most people believed he died of old age. Some animals can be taught to rescue, but no one trained Jack. So why did he do it? No one knows the answer. Maybe God told him! They only know that Jack understood the way through that channel—and he used his knowledge to help humans.

If a Dolphin Can Do It…
Some kids are too afraid or too busy to help like Dolphin Jack did. Serving others means you may have to give up something, such as your time or money. As a result, you may be tempted not to pitch in. But when you know what it feels like to be lonely, sad or angry, you are more likely to want to help others who feel the same things. In fact, research has shown that when you hear or see someone else’s pain, your nervous system responds much the same as when you feel your own pain. You are feeling compassion.

The desire to show compassion is as much a part of you as the need to eat or breathe. This means you don’t have to teach a person someone how to feel bad for someone else. Compassion comes naturally. So, when we see others sitting alone at lunch or a new teammate who doesn’t know anyone, we want to help.

Jesus has compassion for all his people and their troubles. That includes you. He loved you so much that he went to the cross to die for you.

The Bible says that Jesus had compassion on people. When he saw people exhausted, sad, lonely or hurt, he wanted to help them. First, he saw two blind men.

So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him. -Matthew 20:34

In another story, Jesus saw a leper, a man very sick with a disease called leprosy.

Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” -Mark 1:41

Another time Jesus saw a woman whose husband had died. She felt very alone and sad.

When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” -Luke 7:13

Jesus even has compassion on people for little things, like being hungry.

Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’ -Matthew 15:32

Jesus has compassion for all his people and their troubles. That includes you. He loved you so much that he went to the cross to die for you.

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. –Psalm 86:15

We celebrate Jesus’s resurrection on Easter because it was the final blow to Satan. You have a new lease on life!

Knowing what Jesus had done for you makes you want to help others. There are many opportunities around you to help. Most serving can happen right where you are, like Dolphin Jack in the New Zealand channel. When you see others in need, you can jump into action because you know the way. So, look for an opportunity to help someone navigate the way. Usually it’s something that you already know and are comfortable with. For instance…

  • Greet a visitor at school and offer to show them around.
  • Meet a new neighbor and tell them how to find the nearest park or the best Fro-Yo shop.
  • Help someone looking for the shortest checkout line at the store.
  • Tell someone about the love and Jesus and how he is the Savior of your life.

When you know Jesus and his great love for you, you can tell others about it. His love gives you compassion for people and you will help those who may be lost. After all, if a dolphin can do it, so can you!

Allison Zehnder