Once upon a time a hare and a tortoise lived by a river in a forest. They grew up together and were friends. One day in spring, the hare, Harry, came out of his burrow into the warm sunlight. He was young, healthy and happy. He hopped around whistling a merry tune. He was so full of energy that he wanted to challenge someone for a race. He saw a fawn grazing, but he knew she would outrun him. Then he saw a dog and he definitely did not want to race him. Then he saw his friend Tammy, the tortoise lying on a flat rock, basking in the sun.
“Aha, here is Tammy,” thought Harry. “She loves to play with me and she is so dumb she will not care whether she wins or loses! I will ask her to race me.” He went up to Tammy and said, “Come lets race up to the cherry tree around the corner”.
“Yes, let us do that,” agreed Tammy. Harry called out, “One, two, three,” and they started the race. Harry was way ahead, hopping and whistling, while Tammy walked as fast as she could.
Tammy repeated, “One- two- three- four, one- two-three- four – I am marching for Jesus,” as she plodded along. Harry had already passed the corner and was out of sight.
As he neared the cherry tree, Harry turned around and looked back. Tammy was not yet around the corner. Tired and out of breath, Harry decided to take a break. He crawled under a lavender bush. It was cool in the shade and he was soon asleep.
Tammy kept walking. She walked straight ahead without looking to the right or the left. She did not see Harry asleep under the bush. Finally she reached the cherry tree. She could not find Harry anywhere. Puzzled, she sat under the tree and waited. Eventually, Harry came hopping along, He was amazed to see Tammy already by the cherry tree.
“I have won” exclaimed Tammy gleefully and Harry had to accept defeat.
This is a story from my childhood. In those days every story had a moral and for this one it is, ‘Slow and steady wins the race’. Today as a mature person I look back at that story and wonder at the wealth of wisdom embedded in it. I realize that Harry lost because of three reasons. First, he looked back. Second, he put his confidence in his strength and under- estimated the ability of his opponent. Third, he deviated from his goal and slept on his job.
Tammy never wavered from her goal. She followed the Biblical principle:
“Let thine eyes look right on and let thine eyelids look straight before thee ----
Turn neither to the right hand nor to the left---Provebs.4:25 and 27.”
And that is why she won.
Harry forgot Jesus’ words:
“No man having put his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke9:62.”
My childhood story had a positive moral, promising victory in our endeavors if we persevere patiently. My adult interpretation sounds an alarm of impending calamity. If we practice an indifferent, irresolute, careless, nonchalant Laodicean attitude towards God’s word in our daily lives, we will not be ‘fit for the kingdom of God.’
Because God is merciful and loves us dearly He has given us a promise. If we accept life’s challenges with cheerful readiness without considering our strength, ability and wisdom, but with sincerity, earnestness, and seriousness, totally depending on God’s guidance, He will put us on the path of the just.
“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom
I have led thee in right paths--------
The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more
and more into the perfect day. Proverbs. 4:11&18.”
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