Monday, January 19, 2009

Chasing Rabbits

My Bible study class is fantastic at chasing rabbits (or chickens, but that's a subject for another day). Just ask Andy, our teacher. He even has to preface his thoughts from time to time with, "Now we're not going to chase this rabbit, but you might consider ...." Then, diligently and faithful to the task, he trudges forward with a biblical truth in the midst of a rash of small group conversations about the very "rabbit" he told us not to chase. Please understand, I'm not pointing fingers, I'm fully culpable on this matter! Why only yesterday...

Just kidding.

From what I understand, the idea of chasing rabbits comes from hunting. A dog should remain focused on the scent of the animal being tracked, but sometimes a rabbit will cross the path, and a finely tuned and trained canine will suddenly diverge from the task at hand, chasing after the wild hare.

How true that is of my life and worship. Focused on serving and obedience to God in one area, I'll suddenly diverge from the path he's given me, either because of sin or distraction, and the next thing I know, I'm chasing rabbits. Or, even in times of personal or corporate worship, I'll catch myself musing the grocery list on the fridge - or wondering where that candle and photo frame might be. More rabbit chasing. I think that could even be a paraphrase of Rev. 2:4's "you've lost your First Love" passage. It could read, "You're chasing rabbits." (Perhaps I'll recommend this idea to my husband for his translation of scripture - that's the DWI version: Darin Wood International.)

Look, there, I just chased a rabbit. (As I slap my palm against my forehead.)

What's even more remarkable is very often, the rabbits I chase aren't even worth the time and effort. They're more like Dodger's bunny you see to the right - artificial, lifeless and filled with nothing good. Just a mock image of what is truly reality, holding nothing of value, except perhaps sentiment. It can't even move of its own volition or momentum. In order for Dodger to have reason to chase it, I have to throw it. I'm quite sure Satan does the same thing to me. He throws a lifeless, worthless pursuit across my path and I chase after it. He picks it up again and throws it a little further. All the while, leading me further and further from the presence and truth of Christ.

For a time is coming when people will ... reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation .... Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you (2 Tim 4:3-5).

God, help me to ignore the rabbits today.

Oh, and Andy, if you're reading this, I'll try to do better in Sunday School, too. ;-)


Summer Says... said...

We've talked about this in our class too - mostly related to the rabbits that cross our path during prayer. I read a story (news? email? fiction? regardless it works) about monks assigned to pray hours daily as part of their training. After several days, they started talking about their distractions and decided to explain as a group to their leader that these distractions were the very reason they should not have to pray in such blocks of time. Instead of accepting, he in turn challenged them to pray through the distractions. He told them that their "rabbits" could be the very thing that needed their prayer most. When they started to do as he advised, they found themselves praying much longer than assigned. Since reading this, I have tried to apply this thought to my prayer time and found that by praying through/for the distractions Saton puts in my prayer, I win and he loses.

Dave said...

Okay, I had typed out a long response to this and hadn't finished it when Alison and I left to go see Paul Blart, Mall Cop. I lost it when I accidentally closed the browser. Oops.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and sometimes I wonder if a little rabbit chasing can lead to a more organic experience. As strange as this might sound, I've been struggling with this as a worship leader. I tend to focus too much on my task list (the order of service), and it becomes easy for me to miss what is going on in the room. In fact, someone told me today that the congregation gave two different ovations to the praise band yesterday, and to be honest, I didn't even know about one of them. I was in the zone and so focused on what needed to be done that I probably missed a great teaching type of opportunity in the service yesterday. Granted there is not a whole lot of time for rabbit chasing by a worship leader, but my favorite services end up being the ones where I spend some time interacting and chasing rabbits as God leads me.

I'm not sure this is making any sense, but it is midnight, and I'm ready to go to bed. :-)

Julie said...

I fully understand and agree with you both. I, too, try to pray for "distractions" as they invade my mind during prayer. And as a former worship leader, I know the struggle of task vs. sensitivity. (Having usually erred on the side of task, I'm afraid.) My problem is recognizing Satan's dead rabbits vs. God's live ones. I really do believe God places thoughts in our minds about which he wants us to pray or commit to action, but those will always be for his glory and the development and expansion of his kingdom. The dead rabbits from Satan will have no long-term or eternal results, and will result in human glorification or disobedience to God. I wish every "rabbit" came with a label: "dead" or "alive." Then, I'd know which ones to chase.