Christian Turtles, Believer BunniesPublished 10:16am Monday, February 14, 2011
“…yet one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forwrad to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14)
I’ve always loved stories- especially ones that teach us something about life. One of the great storywriters that I remember is a man named Aesop. He often used animals to communicate truths about people. One of my favorite Aesop’s fables is the tale of the tortoise and the hare. The hare was a supercharged speedy runner who boasted that he was the swiftest animal in the forest.
Nobody drag raced him because they knew they would get burned. Yet one day, an unlikely contender took on the bunny’s challenge to compete: the not so quick turtle.
The hare knew that he would blow the tortoise’s shell off, but he still took on the challenge.
The race started with the hare leaving the turtle in a cloud of dust and fur.
Yet then, something interesting happened.
On the way, the hare decided there was plenty of time for a nap. So while he snoozed for a while the tortoise kept plodding along. When the rabbit woke up, he couldn’t see the tortoise anywhere, so he laughed and said, “He still hasn’t caught up with me!” But as he ran toward the finish line, to his amazement he saw the tortoise crossing it. Slowly and steadily, the tortoise had won!
The Christian life is a race. Some believers are like the foolish rabbit- starting and stopping, running and napping.
Yet in their pride and self-confidence, they lie down for spiritual “breaks”, and oftentimes never get back into the race. They had a quick start with lots of energy and excitement, but when the race got difficult, and Christianity wasn’t as much fun anymore, they dropped out.
Other believers are like turtles. They start slow, but they are determined to keep going. The ups and downs of the spiritual life don’t deter them from keeping their eyes on the prize. They know that there are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity, so they just keep plodding along on the straight and narrow path.
Here are some characteristics of the two different animals- see which one better describes you.
I’ll serve Jesus as long as it’s exciting and amusing. If church is fun, and God showers me with blessings, I’ll keep going. Yet if it starts to get tough and challenging, I think it’s nap time.
I’ll serve Jesus no matter what the cost. Whether I have blessing or trial is irrelevant. I know there are ups and downs, but through God’s grace I’m going to press on.
A philosopher once said that the essential thing in heaven and on earth should be “long obedience in the same direction.”
Like the apostle Paul, make it your lifelong aim to press on toward your goal in Christ (Phil. 3:14). You’ll be the one to win the prize.