In his book “The Pursuit of Excellence” Ted W. Engstrom shares the story of a Native American brave who discovers an eagle’s egg and hides it in the nest of a prairie chicken. The little eagle eventually was hatched along with the other chicks and grew up assuming it was a prairie chicken. With that assumption in mind it lived like a prairie chicken. It flew in short bursts with a flurry of feathers and a thrashing of wings-just a few feet off the ground. It’s eating habits were those of a Prairie Chicken, not an eagle. It pecked in the dirt for insects and seeds. Years passed and the eagle aged, never discovering its true identity and potential.
One day the eagle looked up and saw a magnificent sight: a golden eagle soaring effortlessly in the heavens, taking full advantage of the powerful wind currents. “That’s so beautiful,” the eagle said to a friend. “What is it?” “Why, that’s an eagle,” said the knowing friend, “the chief of the birds; but forget it, you could never be like that.” The eagle followed his friend’s advice, never giving it a second thought. Eventually it died, having lived its entire life thinking it was a prairie chicken.
Before you read on, sit back a moment and let your emotions talk to you. What are you feeling right now? Be honest with yourself. Consider writing down your thoughts. Then read on.
Now the story is obviously apocryphal, but nonetheless loaded with meaning for us as leaders.
As I look back over my life, I see specific points where I decided to go the eagle route rather than the prairie chicken route. I also see where I have stayed earthbound, going the prairie chicken route.
Most of my ministry life has been lived “in over my head.” I’m richer for it. It forced me to pray a lot, to confess fears, to worry a good bit; but God always came through for me. (What do you mean it doesn’t pay to worry? Most of the things I worry about never happen!) I live with the philosophy of not going to Jesus to tell Him how big my challenges are, but going to my challenges and telling them how big my Jesus is! For me, that is living by faith and really believing what God has promised.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”-Mark Twain
“There's no thrill in easy sailing,
When the sky is clear and blue.
There's no joy in merely doing
Things which anyone can do.
But there is some fulfillment
That is mighty sweet to taste,
When you reach a destination,
You thought you couldn't make”