The Parable of the Jackrabbit

Let’s imagine for a minute that you have a certain goal, and let’s say you know someone who has already reached it.

Maybe the goal is earning a degree of some sort, or bringing a brilliant business idea to life. Maybe you hope for healthier family relationships, or to master a talent you’ve never seemed to have the time to nurture before. Or maybe you long for a deeper and closer relationship with God.

Before you try to duplicate the steps that others have taken to attain what they have, consider this:

The Parable of the Jackrabbit

A man was on a journey, and after many days of weary travel, he came to a field. In this field he discovered a dog, jumping around, darting to and fro, and disappearing in the long, long grass each time he landed.

The man stayed back, fearing that the dog had a terrible disease that caused him to jerk wildly and bark incessantly. Cautiously, he passed alongside the field on the well-paved path, keeping an eye on the ravenous dog to be sure it did not harm him. As he reached the end of the field, the dog suddenly appeared in front of him, holding a jackrabbit in its jaws. Noticing the man, the dog passively glanced in his direction before contentedly trotting away with his prize.

Happily surprised, this man was nevertheless hungry himself… and thinking about the dog, he decided it would sure be nice if he could have a rabbit to eat, too.

So, he turned around, retraced his steps along the path for a time, and entered the grassy field.

“Well, here I go,” he said, and he began to jump and dart, growl and bark. Up and down, back and forth, trying to duplicate all of the crazy movements he had seen by the dog, believing this would somehow produce a rabbit.

All day long he did this, but to no avail, and at the end of the day, he was still hungry, and very, very tired. Disappointed, he returned to the well-paved path. He said to himself, “This is a well-paved path, many people have traveled this way before. I guess I just need to stay on it, and eat whatever I find along the way.”

Isn’t it interesting that not only did duplicating the dog NOT produce a rabbit, but it probably kept any rabbits around very far away?

During all my “starving student” days, I remember buying into a handful of home-based business ideas. Making beaded jewelry from home was one of them. I also remember getting very frustrated because my results were not amounting to all of the advertised testimonials of big success. Now, I understand that I was jumping and growling, expecting a rabbit to appear.

I had no expectation or vision of living the success they promised. I couldn’t even picture what it would be like to have abundance. All I knew was that there was never enough money, and in reality, that scenario was all I expected.

It would have been very different if I had a vivid picture in my mind of living abundantly so that when opportunities arose, I would know when and how to act. I have only seen a significant change in my financial situation after identifying the rabbit that I wanted to chase and capture. There are many legitimate business opportunities out there that get written off when they “don’t work”. What is really going on is that the subscribers to these methods just don’t see a rabbit… The activity becomes nothing more than performing actions—jumping and barking at empty fields—without having a clear destination or object firmly fixed in mind beforehand.

Following someone else’s recommended steps without a clear objective of your own is like racing after a rabbit before you’ve even spotted one in the thicket.

Once you see it for yourself, what you need to do next becomes instinctive.

This brings up 2 other points of truth in the parable that we may want to consider.

(1) The man was right to leave the path in search of a rabbit.

I heard a very wise person once say,

“If you want to do the right thing, look around at the people in the world, see what they are doing and where they are going, and you will do well to do just the opposite.”

Doing what everyone else is doing is often the absolute WRONG thing to do.

“Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it,”

Matthew 7:13-14

Remember, any rabbit worth catching doesn’t sit around on well paved paths, there is a price to be paid, a seeking is required.

So, if you want a rabbit, you may need to leave the well-paved path, but before you start jumping and barking, make sure you have your eyes FIXED TIGHT on a rabbit.

(2) The second point—All of the madness will be fruitless if you don’t see your rabbit.

Going through the motions without a clear goal in mind is energy wasted. You would burn out before attaining the degree. You would become impatient with the members of your family when things got rough. You would tire of the practice required to master a talent. Your efforts to grow closer to the Lord would too easily be thwarted without a burning desire to know Him.

Satan has no power over a determined seeker.

So, to duplicate the movements of the dog, without chasing a rabbit too, will NOT get you a rabbit. Identify your dream, visualize it, make it real in your mind, get excited about it, and chase it hard!

Daydream about what it will feel like to have that degree, that business, that kind of family life, that talent, that relationship with God. Others will look at you and the choices you make, and they might even think you are crazy. They just don’t see your rabbit. But God does, and He will help you catch every worthy and righteous one that you have your eyes on. He can see where it goes when it disappears out of your vision, and He will prompt you by the Holy Spirit, which way you should go. Practice listening to those quiet promptings, and practice obeying them. Your dreams will return to your view and sooner or later become your reality.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths,”

Proverbs 3:5-6


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Leslie Householder
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