Monday, May 16, 2011

I Found God in Fake Rabbits...

One of our pastors told us this story on Sunday:
A pastor went to visit a home.  At the house, lived a retired greyhound racing dog.  As the pastor waited to talk to the family, he decided to talk to the dog.  "Why are you retired?" he asked.  "You look to be pretty healthy." 

The dog looked at him and said, "I am healthy.  But I quit."  
"Were you not any good?" asked the Pastor.
"I was very good.  I won the races many times," replied the dog.
"Were you treated poorly?"
The dog considered this.  "Conditions for a greyhound are not the best," he admitted. "But that's not why I quit."
"Then why?" asked the Pastor.
"Because," answered the dog.  "The 'rabbit' I was chasing wasn't even real."

Think of all of those greyhounds... chasing that fake rabbit.  Around and around they go thinking that they will be successful... thinking that they will snag that bunny.  Yet every time, the race suddenly ends, the rabbit disappears, and the dogs shake their heads in confusion.

"It was right there!" 
"I almost had it!"
"Just another second...!"
"Why are we stopping??!"

How many times do we chase fake rabbits?
How many times do we work, and work, and work for something only to see that it wasn't nearly as good as we thought it'd be?   A new car... a promotion... expensive clothes...?  How many of us remember the days in high school or college where we were encouraged to make "Goal Lists?"  Where will you be in 5 years?  In 10 years?  How often did these lists include things like I will be the boss of my company....  I will make a 6-figure salary...  I will have a big house and nice car....

I once had a neighbor who moved away because she wanted an "executive house" -- a house that reflected the stature of her husband's very "important" job.  Nevermind that her current house had 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a screened-in back porch, and really cool neighbors*. (*wink)  Ignore the fact that her only child had already left for college and it was just her and her husband.  The need for something MORE overshadowed being grateful for what she already had.  And how long would it be before the new "executive house" was suddenly not flashy enough...?

Mark 10:17-21 talks about the rich man who wants the "secret" to getting into Heaven...

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
   18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

If God came to you today, and told you he could give you a ticket to Heaven right now IF you would give up everyTHING to follow Him, would you do it?

I think for most of us, including me... that would be very hard.  My mind would be racing... trying to weigh the pros and cons of a "sure thing ticket" vs. keeping my stuff and finding another way...

Fortunately God isn't exactly say that... but He is telling us that STUFF can get in the way of our relationship with God.  It could be physical STUFF like overspending on your house, cars, vacations, etc.  It could be the poor choices you make with your time, talents, and money.  It could be the secrets you keep:  adultery, cheating, porn, addictions.  While all of this STUFF might make us feel safe or in control, it becomes a substitute for trusting God.  As our pastor reminded us:

Until you LET GO of what possesses you, you will never be FREE to follow Jesus.

My husband and I are big fans of reality TV - and the Hoarders show is especially disturbing.  These people are plagued with an addiction that forces them to collect STUFF:  be it food, supplies, or animals.  They are tormented with the feeling that there is never enough... and it leads them to unspeakable living conditions.

While we may not stockpile 300 cans of green beans (unless you're one of those Extreme Couponers and it was a really good deal...), we still have our own Hoarding issues.  We hoard our THINGS:  our TV's, our cars, our electronics, our hobbies, our money.  And while God doesn't need us to dump everything, He does want us to put our stuff into perspective.  

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle 
than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:25

He who dies with the most toys... still dies... and leaves one heck-of-a garage sale.

NONE of our THINGS will get us into Heaven.

So be generous.  Use what you need.  Share your blessing with others.

And, stop chasing the fake rabbits.
:) Mags

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AmyW said...

Again, another great one!

Oh and if yu need toothpaste or deodorant, hit me up! LOL

Belle said...

Wonderful post!

I used to go camping a lot. I would bet most people would be surprised how lovely life can be without a surplus of things.

Cindi said...

Very good post Mags. :)

Wanda said...

He who dies with the most toys...still dies...great line and great truths you have shared. Found you via Christian Women blogger's network.

Sharlotte Hardin Hughes said...

Mags, this really coincides with my thoughts this week as I gave up something to help someone else. It felt AWESOME! :)

Shanda said...

Until you LET GO of what possesses you, you will never be FREE to follow Jesus
That statement is so true.
Found you on Christian Woman's Bloggers Network.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. The greatest limit to our service to Christ is not our ability to perform whatever task God calls us to, but rather our willingness to sacrifice whatever He asks us to sacrifice.

Just like the idols of the Old Testament, whatever I put before serving Christ becomes my god. If I'm unwilling to reject the things of the world and give up certain things, I will not be effective in service to the King. "Whoever puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom of heaven," Luke 9:62.

I've certainly got a few rabbits that I need to stop chasing...