The Swan and the Crane

There is an old legend of a swan and a crane. A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails. For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired:

“Where do you come from?”

“I come from heaven!” replied the swan.

“And where is heaven?” asked the crane.

“Heaven!” said the swan, “Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?” And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.

Finally the crane asked: “Are there any snails there?”

“Snails!” repeated the swan; “no! Of course there are not.”

“Then” said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool for snails “you can have your heaven. I want snails!”

This fable has a deep truth underlying it. How many a young person to whom God has granted the advantages of a Christian home, has turned his back upon it and searched for snails! How many a man will sacrifice his wife, his family, his all, for the snails of sin! How many a girl has deliberately turned from the love of parents and home to learn too late that heaven has been forfeited for snails! 

Do you find yourself often clamoring for the snails instead of the Spirit of Heaven?  Do you invest more of your time going after the treasures of this earth, than the treasures of Heaven (Matt. 6:24f)?  Take some comfort in know a few things.  We all get enticed by the snails of life from time to time.  Whether it is materialism, popularity, pride of life or simple selfish living each of these is a constant struggle.  However, God calls us to take a giant step back, reassess our lives and make the proper adjustment toward focus on Christ and Heaven (1 Cor 11.28; 2 Cor 13.5).  It seems evident that Jesus, as a human, had this similar need (Lk 6.12; Mk 1.35; 14.34-36).  No doubt if Jesus needed prayer to refocus, we need this in abundance.  Simply put – are your efforts toward finding the snails or the Spirit of God?  May we be diligent to have minds on eternity and daily keep our focus on God’s Spirit.

~~ Andy Burns

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