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And the Grasshopper Got Away!

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    It all transpired in three blinks of an eye. As I sped on my way to work, I was caught up in this near tragic drama of mockingbird and grasshopper. As the grasshopper twisted and contorted its flight to escape being the main course on the mockingbird’s menu, he flew into the path of my speeding car. The mockingbird matched each darting and twisting movement of the grasshopper, oblivious that his flight path intersected with my oncoming Buick. I was totally perplexed. There was nothing I could do to make a difference in the outcome of this dangerous food chain flight.

    At the last possible moment, the mockingbird saw my car, darted down, and hit the inside of one of my tires. Stunned for a moment, he flopped around a bit, regained his equilibrium, and flew off, sans grasshopper. The grasshopper got away!

    The mockingbird regained his composure more quickly than I regained mine. I’m basically an animal lover, so I don’t like hitting things with my car and see them writhing in pain on the asphalt. As I drove away, I spent more energy looking in my rear view mirror for the mockingbird to fly away than I spent watching the road ahead. Thankfully he took off before I rounded the corner. I heaved a big sigh of relief. Then the thought hit me.

    “Phil,” this inner voice of conviction spoke from somewhere inside my conscience, “If you’re not careful, that mockingbird is you!”

    Now wait a minute! That’s not what I wanted to spend my morning thinking about. I had a jillion things to get done. Errands needed to be run. Outlines needed to be turned in. E-mail needed to be answered. Calls had to be returned. Staff members needed a visit. But all I could think about was that mockingbird... and me!

    If you’re at all like me, the mockingbird could be you, too! We get so caught up in what seems important — especially those “urgent” important things — that we forget the “routinely” essential priorities in our lives. Sure, the mockingbird needed his breakfast meal. It was urgently important. But if he gave his life for that meal, then it was worse than worthless, it was terminal!

If he gave his life for that meal, then it was worse than worthless, it was terminal!
    So I’m asking you to join me in a little personal inventory. Let’s look at our stated priorities and our life’s mission statement; then let’s see if we’re really basing our time and efforts on what we say is essential and important. The routinely essential things for me are daily prayer and Bible reading, meaningful time with my wife and my children, proper rest, and a period of reflection so my scheduling is based on my priorities. But, it is so easy for me to let those things get shoved aside because of some breaking opportunity that is important, but not really essential. Unfortunately I can get distracted by an urgent emergency and neglect the very things that equip me, that help center me in God’s will, and that will help me bless someone else in their emergency. Before long, I’m running on fumes, threatening my health, neglecting my family, and forgetting important appointments — all because I’ve been chasing the “urgent” important things and forgetting the “routinely” essential priorities in my life.

    I am that mockingbird! I can get so caught up in chasing the first important thing that flies by that I place everything else in danger. I’m chasing my grasshopper and not seeing the oncoming Buick!

    I am that mockingbird! And if I’m not careful, I’m going to bring everything to a crashing halt if I don’t take the essential daily time for the most important things in my life.

    I am that mockingbird! And if the Lord doesn’t get my attention, I can waste my days chasing the latest, greatest, keenest, newest, slickest, important thing and lose what is essential to me and damage my walk with God.

    I am that mockingbird! And you know what? 9 out of 10 times, the grasshopper is going to get away because I let the urgent replace the essential.

    So, I’d like to ask you to join me in re-dedicating the beginning of each day to God’s center for our lives. Let’s do that before we chase our grasshoppers, build our nests, or preen our feathers. Otherwise, I got a feeling there’s Buick out there with our name on it, and next time we meet it, we might not fly away from the experience!

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A full archive of past articles by Phil Ware is maintained. Access recent articles Significance, The Believer's Atheism, and dozens more.
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About the Author...
Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas. For the past 4 years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.

Title: "And the Grasshopper Got Away!"
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: April 10, 2000



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