Once upon a time, there was a tortoise, a hare, and a bear sitting in a classroom. Their teacher was Mr. Fox.
Mr. Fox said he needed to step away for about 30 minutes. He wrote an assignment on the board for the students to complete before he returned.
The tortoise, studious and knowing he could be slow, began the assignment right away.
The hare, knowing Mr. Fox always takes a little longer, and having been up late playing video games, decided to take a nap first. He felt confident he could whip through the assignment in a few minutes.
The bear was exhausted, having been up playing video games with the hare last night, but he was also concerned about the assignment. He went to work right away, struggling to stay awake. When he was nearly done, he couldn’t take it any longer and put his head down for a short rest.
After 25 minutes, Mr. Fox returned. The tortoise had just finished. The bear sat up nervously, knowing he hadn’t quite finished. The hare snoozed away.
“I have cupcakes for all who finished or at least did their best,” Mr. Fox declared with a wry grin. If you didn’t finish, I will give you five more minutes while I set the cupcakes out.
The bear hurriedly finished while the tortoise got a cupcake right away. The hare got none and snored away.
With a scribble and a scrawl, the bear finished and turned in his work. As he handed it to Mr. Fox, he said, “I’m sorry I fell asleep and it’s not my best. I won’t stay up late like that again.”
Mr. Fox smiled, “Lesson learned and apology accepted.”
Life is a Bear
It’s a tale I’m working on from a familiar fable. We know the hare is all play and the tortoise works hard but seldom does a person fit into one or the other trait completely. That’s why there’s a bear—because life is a bear. It’s not easy to be constantly working hard nor are we all slackers all the time. We try our best, but we fail sometimes due to circumstances, temptations, distractions, and other things in life. We certainly aren’t perfect but we’re not terrible either. We often fall somewhere in the middle, like the bear.
It’s not just a tale of doing the right thing; it’s a tale of prioritizing. The tortoise was able to prioritize his assignment. The bear did the same, though he didn’t prioritize sleep the night before so his assignment was harder. The hare, well . . . someone needs to check on the hare.
We can look at this in so many ways. Are we prioritizing things correctly?
Do we put faith first now or are we waiting for old age to remind us of the inevitable? We don’t know the day or the hour of our own end, so is waiting safe? Faith should be a priority right where we are now.
Should we feed healthy friendships now and foster good relationships or only put the effort in right before they crumble? Should we save our money when we can or wait for a catastrophe to realize we should have been saving all along?
We know the right thing, but it’s hard. When we plan for salvation now, we build a better foundation to focus on the assignment God has given us. Then and only then can we complete it as He wants.
There’s one more thing that’s vital to know.
Even though the bear fell asleep, Mr. Fox was merciful. He offered a final attempt and the bear apologized. Mr. Fox was teaching him all along.
We mess up like the bear all the time, but we have Confession. The Lord is merciful and waiting on us to come back to Him. Even if we fall asleep from His tasks for us, He will allow us to reconcile and try again.
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