Article by Steve Brown
Note: The following article is by Steve Brown; an author for Plain Truth magazine (ptm.org). Greg Albrecht sent me a copy of his magazine (it arrived this weekend) and I absolutely loved everything I read. It was incredibly encouraging! This was one of the articles from that magazine. If you enjoy this, I hope you’ll check out Greg’s site! Really awesome stuff! -Dave (TruthForFree.com)
I’ve had a lousy job for most of my life! As you know, I’m a preacher and my job description is to keep people from doing what they obviously want to do. I’ve often felt like an overwhelmed police officer at a rock concert charged with keeping the concert goers from using drugs.
With a job description like mine, you hardly ever get invited to parties, people are not very honest, and sometimes you feel like a wet shaggy dog shaking himself at a wedding. I tell them that I’m trying to help and that God anointed me to reach out to them, but they simply don’t care.
Preachers are supposed to keep people from sinning. I haven’t been very successful so far. There are times when I feel like I’m standing by a cliff where people come to dance. “Be careful,” I warn them. “It’s a long way down and the stop will be quite unpleasant.”
They look at me. Sometimes they even thank me. Then they jump.
Frankly, I’m tired of it. In fact, I’ve given up standing by this stupid cliff. I’m tired of trying to prevent the unpreventable. I’m tired of talking to people who don’t want to listen. And I’m tired of pointing out the obvious.
Just when I determine to leave my position by the cliff, to my horror and surprise…I jump! What’s up with that?
Let me tell you. There is a very human and undeniable proclivity of human beings to sin—to jump off the cliff. We’re drawn to it. No matter who tries to keep us from doing it or how much pain it will cause, we are irresistibly drawn to that cliff. Maybe we want to fly. I don’t know why. But for whatever reason, we do jump, we do get hurt, and if we survive, we then climb back up the cliff and jump again.
There’s a parable (author unknown) about Felix, the flying frog.
Once upon a time there was a man named Clarence who had a pet frog named Felix. Clarence lived a modestly comfortable existence, but he always dreamed of being rich. “Felix!” he said one day, hit by sudden inspiration, “We’re going to be rich! I’m going to teach you to fly!”
Felix, of course, was terrified at the prospect. “I can’t fly! I’m a frog, not a canary!”
Clarence, disappointed at the initial response, told Felix: “That negative attitude of yours could be a real problem. We’re going to remain poor, and it will be your fault.”
So Felix and Clarence began their work on flying. On the first day of the “flying lessons,” Clarence could barely control his excitement (and Felix could barely control his bladder). Clarence explained that their apartment building had 15 floors, and each day Felix would jump out of a window, starting with the first floor and eventually getting to the top floor. After each jump, they would analyze how well he flew, isolate the most effective techniques, and implement the improved process for the next flight. By the time they reached the top floor, Felix would surely be able to fly.
Felix pleaded for his life, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. “He just can’t see the big picture.” So with that, Clarence opened the window and threw Felix out. Thud!
The next day, poised for his second flying lesson, Felix again begged not to be thrown out the window. Clarence told Felix about how one must always expect resistance when introducing new, innovative plans. With that, he threw Felix out the window. Thud!
Now, this is not to say that Felix wasn’t trying his best. On the fifth day, he flapped his legs madly in a vain attempt at flying.
On the sixth day, he tied a tiny red cape around his neck and tried to think “Superman” thoughts. Thud!
By the seventh day, accepting his fate, Felix simply said, “You know, you’re killing me, don’t you?”
Clarence pointed out that Felix had failed to meet any of the milestone goals he had set for him. With that, Felix said quietly, “Just take me to the top floor and open the window.” Felix jumped out, taking careful aim at a large rock by the corner of the building. Thud!
Felix went to that great lily pad in the sky. Clarence was extremely upset that his get-rich-quick scheme had failed. The only thing left for Clarence to do was to analyze the process and try to determine where it had gone wrong.
After much thought, Clarence smiled and said, “Next time, I’m getting a smarter frog!”
A number of years ago, I realized that I was, as it were, trying to teach frogs to fly. Frogs can’t fly, and they get angry when you try to teach them. The gullible ones will try, but eventually get hurt so badly they quit trying. And the really sad thing about being a “frog-flying teacher” is that I can’t fly either.
Let me tell you a secret. If one is a teacher trying to teach frogs to fly, nobody ever bothers to ask if you can fly. In fact, if you pretend that you’re an expert and tell a lot of stories about flying—if you can throw a bit of aeronautical jargon about stalls, spins and flight maneuvers, if you carry around a Flight Manual and you know your way around it—nobody will question your ability to fly. You just pretend you’re an expert and tell stories, and the students will think you can fly.
The problem is that you become so phony you can’t stand yourself. So I’ve repented. Now I just send them to Jesus and try to get out of the way. If you’re struggling with sin and aren’t getting any better, don’t come to me. Instead of coming to me, just run to Jesus. He’ll love you and maybe even make you better.
He asked me to remind you.