A thought for General Assembly Week…..
There once was an elderly Christian gentleman who had a reputation for godliness, devotion, and faithfulness.
Once a newly ordained Elder visited him with his Communion Card, and, during their conversation, got round to discuss the decline in membership of the Church.
“Why is it” asked the younger man, “that so many people when they join the Kirk are so full of enthusiasm, then, after a few years, they effectively give up. They don’t have that initial zeal anymore.
The old fellow smiled. He said, “One day, a wee while ago, I was sitting in my garden on a lovely summer evening – my faithful dog by my side.
“Suddenly a large rabbit ran across in front of us. Well, my dog jumped up, and took off after it. He chased the rabbit across the lawn, through the hedge, down the lane. – and with unbridled passion.
“Soon, other dogs joined him, attracted by his barking. What a sight it was, as the pack of dogs ran barking along the road, up stony embankments and through thickets and thorns!
“Gradually, however, one by one, the other dogs dropped out of the chase, discouraged by the course and frustrated by the pursuit. Only my dog continued to hotly chase after that rabbit.”
“In that story, young man, is the answer to your question.”
He sat in confused silence. Finally, he said, “I don’t understand. What is the connection between the rabbit chase and the quest for God?”
The old chap answered,
“you failed to ask the obvious question.
“Why didn’t the other dogs continue on the chase?
“And the answer to that question is that they had not Seen the rabbit.
“Unless you see the prey, the chase is just too difficult. You will lack the passion and determination necessary to keep up the chase.”
And perhaps that’s why so many – not all – are dropping out. They no longer keep their eye on the prize.
Not the prize of heaven, but the prize of the one who will get us there :Jesus Christ.
He is and always will be the only focus.
As St Paul wrote:
“I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me……I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”