Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Skylark's Bargain

Got this piece of wisdom from my dose of Daily Wisdom. It's a keeper so here it is:

The Skylark's Bargain - July 30, 2008

Someone once said, "Feather by feather, the goose is plucked." That applies to geese, and to us.

G.H. Charnley, in The Skylark's Bargain, tells the story of a young skylark who discovered a man who would give him worms for his feathers. Worms were the bird's favorite food, but a lot of work was necessary to occasionally enjoy this delicacy because they were scarce. The thought of an easier, better life was very attractive to the young skylark, so he offered the man a deal--one feather for two worms. The man accepted.

The skylark thought he had it made–no more hunting and working for food. The good life was his!

The next day the lark was flying high in the sky with his father. The older bird said, "You know, son, we skylarks should be the happiest of all birds. See our brave wings! They lift us high in the air, away from danger, and nearer to God."

But the young bird did not hear his Dad, for all he could think about was the man with worms. Down he flew, plucked a feather from his wings, and had a feast. Day after day this went on.

Then autumn came, and the man with the worms was gone. It was also time to fly south. The lark's family and all their friends began gathering for the long journey.

As everyone else flew off, the young skylark had to stay behind to face the harsh winter all alone. Why? Slowly, day by day, he had exchanged the power of his young wings for worms.

How Does This Apply to Our Lives?

The lark was surrounded by positive examples he could follow in life. Wise advice was available. But the lark rejected all of that. Instead, he was determined to satisfy his immediate desires, and failed to calculate the long-term costs of doing so. Consequently, he faced a harsh winter, doomed.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Do not bite at the bait of pleasure 'till you know there is no hook beneath it." Many careers, marriages and lives could be saved if Jefferson's advice were followed.

Most of us try to avoid making the big mistakes in life. But just as a goose is plucked feather by feather, we can create difficult situations for ourselves step by step. Whether it is untruths that are uttered, gratitude that is unexpressed, or faith that is not built and maintained, we are tempted to make and repeat small mistakes over time. As a result, we can end up like the lark--unhappy, alone, and maybe even doomed.

Don't take small steps toward big problems. Focus on developing strong wings of character and faith that will enable you to soar away from daily temptations that are so alluring.

And remember the lark–you also face a constant temptation in life to exchange wings for worms. Guard against letting that happen.

"A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
but a fool throws off restraint and is careless."

Proverbs 14:16

- Contributed by Rich McLawhorn to Daily Wisdom.

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