Monday, April 29, 2013

The Tortoise and the Hare

I have this particular Aesop fable on audio. We listen to it in the car while driving to gymnastics lessons, or to drop someone off at school, or to entertain them as I do another of the 20 errands on my list, my kids giggling away in the back seat as the overly confident rabbit dozes off in the afternoon sun...

The very last line in this particular children's version is "And the moral is, slow and steady wins the race."

Slow and Steady.

This story first found it's way into a printed story book in the 1500's. More than 500 years ago, people needed a lesson, a fable to remind them the value of slowing down.

I think "slow and steady" has a biblical name: perseverance. The dictionary defines perseverance as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty and delay.

The hare obviously was not steadfast.  Though certainly overly confident, I find the hare to be uncomfortable relatable.

Every day, I have my to do list, I have the list of things I want to do, another list of things I hope to do, another list of dreams for the future when the time comes...

And when I get going, I REALLY go. I can go 100 miles an hour. But I rarely reach the finish line.  I exhaust myself. The cleaning exhausts me. The kids exhaust me.  Life exhausts me before I finish the race.

There's a parable in the book of Luke.  Jesus says, "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering, they produce a good fruit."

The seed in the good soil who hears and retains and perseveres... that seed will produce a good fruit. There is no amount of rushing that will do this seed any good.  It will produce a good fruit by perseverance.

Our life is not meant to be a sprint.  It's not meant to be aimless.  It's meant to be lived with purpose and with perseverance.  The tortoise knew where he was going.  He had the end goal in mind, he wasn't wandering around in circles. But he wasn't sprinting either.  He wasn't going 100 miles an hour, and he won.

God knows our limits.  We are human, in human bodies, with human weaknesses.  He knows your heart, and He knows your dreams.  He wants us to slow down.  Not for His benefit, but for ours.  So that we can win the race.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."  1 Corinthians 9:24