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Competing. Comparing. Conforming

Updated: Jan 22, 2019

Article by Charles R. Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life

The SPRINGFIELD, OREGON, Public Schools newsletter published an article that caught my eye some time ago. As I read it, it struck me that I was reading a parable of familiar frustration in the Christian home and body of Christ today.

Once upon a time, the animals decided they should do something meaningful to meet the problems of the new world. So, they organized a school.

They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming; in fact, better than his instructor, but made only passing grades in flying, and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his web feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable, so nobody worried about that—except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of his class in running but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make-up work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed charley horses from overexertion, and so only got a C in climbing and a D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a nonconformist. In climbing classes, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there….

The obvious moral of the story is a simple one: Each creature has its own set of capabilities in which it will naturally excel—unless it is expected or forced to fill a mold that doesn’t fit.

What is true of creatures in the forest is true of Christians in the family. God has not made us all the same. It’s OK to be you … so relax. Enjoy your own capabilities, cultivate your own style. Appreciate the members of your family or your fellowship for who they are, even though their outlook or style may be miles different from yours. Rabbits don’t fly. Eagles don’t swim. Ducks look funny trying to climb. Squirrels don’t have feathers. Stop comparing!

Abilities are like tax deductions, we use them, or we lose them.

-Sam Jennings, quoted in Lloyd Cory, Quote Unquote

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