Summary: Brother Rabbit's Pride distracts him from the path-- What distracts you from running the race that is set before you.
The Parable of the Tar Baby
Brother Rabbit was hopping down the rabbit trail—you know—the one all good bunnies would chose to travel on. Along the way he came to a carefully constructed little man, made of tar and some old clothes. Brother Rabbit, not wishing to be rude, greeted the tar baby with a cheery “Hello there Brother!”
As he hopped a little further down the trail he realized that the little man hadn’t responded so he bounded back up to where he’d met the fellow and said, “Perhaps you didn’t hear me, friend, I said HELLO!” The tar baby sat on the stump without moving, deaf and dumb.
Brother Rabbit didn’t appreciate this rudeness. So he challenged the little figure. “You’re being rather rude.” He still received no answer. “What’s the matter with you? You deaf or something?” No answer. “Listen, here,” he said in an angry voice, “If you don’t say at least hello to me I’m going to bop you right upside your head.” Of course the tar baby did not answer so Brother Rabbit doubled up his paw and struck the tar baby right upside his head. Instantly, he became stuck in the tar and began to grow even angrier.
“Let go of me!” he cried. “Unless you want me to bop you on the other side of your head.” The tar baby said nothing and didn’t let go, so Brother Rabbit struck him on the other side and of course was stuck in the tar on that side as well. When he begin kicking with his feet he was stuck in the tar there as well. Of course, that’s when old Brother Fox comes along and we learn that the tar baby was nothing more than a trap, set to capture Brother Rabbit.
Did you know that this story is in the Bible? Well, not exactly, but the principle is there. I Found in Hebrews 12:1-2:
“ Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus,]the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him[c]endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”
So many of us forget to run the race by keeping our eyes and minds on Jesus and recognizing his great sacrifice for us. Like Brother Rabbit, who should have gone hopping merrily down the bunny path, we turn aside by the things that distract and entangle us.
When you look at the parable of Brother Rabbit as I told it you should immediately see that it was nothing more than pride that caused Brother Rabbit to turn away from the proper path. For many believers, the downfall is not adulterous behavior, theft, drunkenness, or even violence. For many of us we fail in pride. When I read the Sermon on the Mount, while I would not contend that Christ listed the Beatitudes in order of importance or priority, I find it applicable to my life that the first attitude mentioned is meekness. The opposite of pride. As believers, one of the things that entangles us so quickly is pride. We want to push ourselves forward. It is pride that makes us act unmercifully. It is pride that keeps us from mourning over our own personal sins. It is pride that keeps us from forgiving others.
I hope you are getting the point… I used to read the Sermon on the Mount and I thought I was doing pretty good, until I took a closer look that those attitudes that Christ said were very important for my life. I find that I fail miserably, but the joy is that even though I fail, I am looking to Jesus as the author and finisher of my faith. I am running the race. I am seeking HIS grace and righteousness to be made known in my life. I am seeking his meekness to become my own. The honest truth is that is my experience today, until pride raises its ugly head again somehow or somewhere.
I am suggesting that my tar baby (the thing that distracts and entangles me and keeps me from running the race) is often pride. For you it may be something else. You may have a problem with wrong relationships, lust, honesty, disloyalty, gossip, or some other entangling sins.
Do you see what the author of Hebrews says—they EASILY ensnare us? We are easily caught up by our own desires. We are easily ensnared. Old Brother Fox, who knew Brother Rabbit’s pride, know that was just the right trap to set for him. If only Brother Rabbit had gone on down the trail.