“Once upon a time there was a hare who, boasting how he could run faster than anyone else, was forever teasing tortoise for its slowness. Then one day, the irate tortoise answered back: “Who do you think you are? There’s no denying you’re swift, but even you can be beaten!” The hare squealed with laughter.”
This week the tortoise and the hare made a visit to Covenant River Rock in NC. If Arthur Rackman was still around, he would have been able to illustrate a whole new version of Aesop’s little tale by just sitting in our garden. Tuesday, I wrote about the tiny bunny who visited our yard and munched merrily on our strawberry leaves. Yesterday, the tortoise finally caught up and spent some time in our garden resting under hosta leaves and by the side of our big oak tree. Sometimes the littlest blessing pops up and begs notice.
Like today – as I was reading Genesis 8-9, something started wiggling at the back of my mind. Jewish Sages teach that when things are repeated several verses apart, God is trying to get you to notice the main idea that is right in the middle. It is an interesting theory especially when it catches your attention in action.
If you haven’t read Genesis in a while, man and woman are created to live in a garden and six chapters later they are so messed up, that a flood has just washed most of the world clean again. By chapter 8, Noah, his family and the remaining animals have emerged to build an altar in thankfulness. As I read these two chapters, God repeats “Never again – never again … 13 verses later, He repeats it. Smack dab in the middle are two short lines: “…in the image of God has God made man.” (which is repeated from Gen 1:26).
It makes you wonder – ponder – consider…hypothesize…
Yesterday, as I managed to snap a few pictures of our visiting tortoise, I started thinking about Aesop’s short fable. Then today, this short phrase from the WORD seemed to wrap itself around my brain as well. Needless to say, the two messages are entwining themselves as I think. At various points in our lives, aren’t we all a little bit of a tortoise? Aren’t we all a little bit of the hare? And here’s the scariest one…aren’t we all created in the image of God?
I like thinking. I like learning. It seems to be the best part of the journey. If you asked me today, I would say I’m more of the tortoise. I like to take things slow and steady. I don’t do a lot of racing. And – I really like to think that I am made in the image of God. I don’t always live up to such a legacy, but I like to think – that “Every day, in every way, by the grace of God, I’m getting better and better.”
Oh and just in case you haven’t read any Aesop lately – here’s the ending of the tale:
“…the hare woke with a jolt. He could see the tortoise a speck in the distance and away he dashed. He leapt and bounded at a great rate, his tongue lolling, and gasping for breath. Just a little more and he’d be first at the finish. But the hare’s last leap was just too late, for the tortoise had beaten him to the winning post. Poor hare! Tired and in disgrace, he slumped down beside the tortoise who was silently smiling at him.
“Slowly does it every time!” he said”