Personal Experience Matters in the Long Run

A modern parable:

Filbert was a dog who lived in a small prairie town.   He was a good and happy dog who had a good family that treated him very well.  One day he was rolling in the grass when out of the corner of his eye he saw the biggest rabbit he had ever seen.  It was at least twice the size of any rabbit he had seen before, and the way the sun bounced off its fur made it look almost golden.  Well, as you can imagine, Filbert sprang into hot pursuit of the rabbit.  The rabbit saw the dog and took off running to escape its pursuer.

Through the fence, down the gravel driveway and out across the native prairie grass they ran.  They climbed a hill, blazed across a bridge and sped into town.   As they ran through town many other dogs noticed our hero stretched out in hot pursuit of something.   They noticed the glimmer in his eye and the passion of his pursuit, and they too were compelled to join the run.

Block after block our hero chased the rabbit while more dogs joined the pack – the race was on!  The rabbit, our hero and some twenty dogs went running out of town and down the gravel road with more and more dogs getting caught up in the hype of the chase. “What are we chasing?” they would ask each other.  “We’re not sure exactly.  Some say it’s a cat and others a rabbit, nonetheless it must be pretty amazing for Filbert to be running so hard!” others replied.

The sun was beginning to set on the prairie and the pursuit had not lost any of its steam for the rabbit and Filbert.   However, the crowd of dogs along for the run began to wane.  Some had to return home to get dinner; others got tired and decided to stop; and a few just got distracted by the many new things they were seeing.  As the sun faded on the horizon one could only see the silhouettes of the rabbit and its lone pursuer, our hero Filbert.

Why did all the other dogs quit the race?  I am sure they all had a good reason, but didn’t the hero have the same reasons to stop his pursuit?  Maybe so, but then why did he keep running when the others quit?   The answer is so simple and yet profound: Filbert was the only one who had actually seen the rabbit.  He had experience with the object of his desire and not just an intellectual idea of it.  His experience with the rabbit was first hand and personal and this fueled his pursuit!


an excerpt from: "Becoming Love: Avoiding Common Forms of Christian Insanity by Michael Rose

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