I was reminded today of the story of the tortoise and the hare. I was reminded of a simple childhood story, one I am sure that all of you have heard. What struck me about this story today was that though this generation knows the story’s words its wisdom has evaded them. The story is about a race, but more specifically about life. It’s about a mindset of awareness that we must have. America is undoubtedly the most free and prosperous nation on the face of the earth. We have more innovation, intelligence, influence, and resources than anyone else. You see, in the story, the hare was a powerful runner; the best in fact. The tortoise never had a realistic shot to win, or though it seemed. It took the hare actually sleeping during a race for the tortoise to win. Complacency is what decided the race, not skill or ability. The race was a decision of character, not of might. That is the same task we face in our church and in our nation today. The test is not of ability, for we have it. The test is of commitment, character, and focus on more than just the moment. We have any enemy, the devil, who seeks the destruction of the people of God and of our nation’s values. He knows within the light of our focus on Jesus he has no power. This is why he tries so fervently to tempt God’s people to be uninformed, unfocused, and unwilling. Our generation is so removed from conflict, from struggle, that we believe there is no such thing. We have politicians proclaiming that everything can be free and everyone can have what they want and not have to pay for it. The worst part about it; we actually believe it! We have opened a line of credit with our enemy and have deceived ourselves into believing that we never have to pay it back.
The troubling trend in our society and in our churches is not that we have too few ideas or no ability but that we have little interest in doing important things. We are much more interested in temporal pleasures that come and go and blow with the wind. The vanity of our culture has eroded a generation to focus and worship themselves rather than focus on being a part of something greater than. Americans are slowly becoming like the hare in the story. We are born with the ability but we are complacent in our application of it. We are like Esau, giving up our birthright for mere trifles. In Hosea, the scriptures read “My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge”. Let us not be oblivious in this time. If we do not humble ourselves and come back to God we are a decade or so away from the fall of one of the brightest lights in human history, democracy as we know it.
Let us separate ourselves from what we want as a people and think just for a moment about what we need. This is the same age old dilemma the hare found himself in. He desired so desperately a nap that in doing so he convinced himself right into the arms of defeat.