Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Satisfied (10/11/04)

TITLE: Rats without a Parachute
By Al Boyce


When I was a college student, working on a degree in psychology, I spent a lot of time with rats.

One of the first things I learned was this: If you want to teach a rat something, it better be hungry.

In fact, we were taught that part of our experimental protocol was to keep our animals at what was called "90 percent feeding weight." We arrived at this figure by letting the rats eat freely, weighing them, then putting them on "diets" until they were 90 percent of that weight.

Hunger made the reward of food much more motivating. Rats solved mazes faster, clicked bars more often to get food and generally behaved better than when they were satisfied.

In fact, I taught one hungry rat to parachute off the fourth floor of the Psychology Building. (More about that later).

The same general guidelines seem to work with people. Don't we all work harder when things aren't going too well -- when we aren't satisfied? It may be that we are actually hungry. But more often it is a more symbolic hunger that drives us -- hunger for a promotion, for a mate, for a better house.

Even Jesus blesses the hungry, saying in Luke 6:21 -- "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied."

And woe to those who are satisfied in this life! Just look at Hosea 13:5-7:

"I cared for you in the desert,
in the land of burning heat.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me.
So I will come upon them like a lion,
like a leopard I will lurk by the path."

What we need seems to be a balance. If we are too satisfied, we forget our reliance on God and become complacent. But if we are too hungry, we may become foolish.

That brings me back to the parachuting rat.

I rigged this rodent with the parachute from a model rocket and, with the lure of some rat chow, got him to the point where he would willingly dive off the fire escape and float down to my partner in crime, (another sadistic psychology student) in the parking lot below. He would place the rat in the elevator for the trip back up and we would repeat the process.

After several successful runs, we unharnessed the heroic rodent and began eating lunch -- on the fire escape.

To our astonishment, the rat threw himself off the fire escape -- sans chute -- and met his demise on the asphalt below.

The moral of the story? Stay hungry, but don't expect to be satisfied -- in THIS life.

Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Lee Rainey10/18/04
Aw, poor rat :(.
But a wonderful story with a great lesson. Thanks, AL.
darlene hight10/18/04
Awwww... what a horrible demise but a great lesson.
Dori Knight10/18/04
lol - al, i hope that the animal rights activists don't read this - they'll be picketing your house, he he he. good story, great message. excellent job.

blessings ~

Rita Garcia10/18/04
Al, yes, I too thought poor rat, but great message. Always enjoy your writing. Blessings, Rita
Mary Elder-Criss10/18/04
Great message. Really enjoyed this point:

"If we are too satisfied, we forget our reliance on God and become complacent. But if we are too hungry, we may become foolish."

Enjoy your writing style very much.
Glenda Lagerstedt10/18/04
I must not dislike rats as much as I thought because this one's demise when it was expecting food made me sad. But excellent story and great points.
Lucian Thompson10/18/04
Wow, my kind of story. I just read a story that said I was glutinous at the buffet restaurants and now you bring balance showing me being hungry isn’t so bad…kinda. Well anyway, me and the rat have something in common; we both would dive out a window for food. Geronimo………
Dave Wagner10/19/04
I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. What a terrific read. Great anecdotes, great points, great analogy.

Excellent post.
John Hunt10/20/04
Extremely interesting and entertaining article. Approproiately tied into this weeks subject.
Very well done!
Phyllis Inniss10/21/04
I agree that if we are too satisfied we become complacent and we don't try hard enough - not even to please the Lord. Good piece.
Verlie Ruhl10/21/04
I love your readable style, and your message brought some unexpected illumination. Thanks! (I think I'm hungry. . . . )
Kathy Cartee10/24/04
Just Great!
Marina Rojas10/24/04
So we finally have Superman's secret at hand...the poor fellow was starving!

Good read! And good spiritual truth! Thank you!
Linda Germain 10/25/04

Congratulations! You won't find any sympathy here for those ugly, nasty, four legged, disease carrying, hole chewing FINKS!(But how do you REALLY feel, Linda?) Your experiment was fantastic though, and the analogy well done. Actually, his harakiri actually led credence to the experiment (and to the sermon illustration!)Besides that, there HAS to be a joke in there somewhere...you know, about one parachute and three jumpers or something. :0) VERY well done.