About the time Jeremiah was prophesying to the Israelites in Babylonian Captivity, a famous Greek wise man named Aesop was collecting all the fables he had heard used to teach children practical lessons about life. Through talking creatures in nature, as well as familiar events from everyday life, these story-lessons illustrated a truth in a memorable way. Usually, Aesop placed a one-line moral at the end to summarize the point of the story. Here’s one of his lesser-known fables, “The Flea, The Grasshopper and The Frog”:

The king called for a contest to see which animal was the best jumper. The three finalists gathered before the royal court to show off their talents: the flea, the grasshopper and the frog. The grasshopper jumped first, and he reached the dome of the palace. The flea gathered his strength and launched himself even higher, out the window and out of sight. The frog looked a bit intimidated. Finally, he jumped, not very high and kind of sideways – right onto the king’s lap. The frog was declared the winner and was rewarded handsomely. 

Moral: It’s not how high you jump; it’s where you land.

The American ideal is to be a free society, “with liberty and justice for all.” At its best, it seeks to provide equal opportunities to all its citizens. But even when the opportunities are equal, some people jump higher than others for a variety of reasons. Some of us are born with a higher IQ, or with better physical strength or health, or with the right family connections, or with a greater natural ambition. Some of us are fleas, some are grasshoppers, and some are frogs.

As a result of the differences among us, both in where we started from and what we’ve done since then, some have gone a long distance in our education, our careers, our skills and our talents, while others are not too far from our starting point. Some of us are pretty good jumpers, while others can’t seem to get off the ground. All of that matters to our Heavenly Father, and there are many kinds of jumping instructions and exercises in the Bible he gave to us.

But what God really cares about is where we land. He is surprisingly flexible in allowing us to jump off in this direction or that, pursuing what we’ve decided on as life goals, but we need to make sure that at the end of our jumping, we’re still close to him. Some of us would have to admit that we’re really not clear about our aims in life; we’re in a hurry, but going nowhere in particular. We all need to remind ourselves of the words of Jesus

“What will it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul?” (Mark 6:36)

If your life journey has led you away from God, there is plenty of reassurance in the Bible that he would be happy to welcome you back. The Prophet Zachariah tells us
“Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you,” (Zechariah 1:3)
And Jesus himself promised
“Anyone who comes to me I will never reject.” (John 6:37)

So, wherever you find yourself right now, make your next jump count:
It’s not how high you jump; it’s where you land.
Make sure you land in the King’s lap.

— Pastor George Van Alstine

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