As I sat in church one Sunday morning, wrestling two small children in order to keep them quiet and happy during the Pastor’s message, I heard a story that changed the way I think about choices I make every single day, and helped me focus on what is truly most important in my life.
Two ships were taking the same delivery route from here to there. Both captains wished to arrive at the final port first in order to prove that they were the best captain at sea.
As the first ship began to pull away, the second captain was envious and wanted to propel his boat to the front of the pack…but how? The captain had an idea. He instructed his crew to throw a bit of the ships cargo overboard in order to lighten the load.
After the crew had done as they were instructed the captain was pleased that his ship was moving faster and getting closer to the ship in the lead. However, he still couldn’t catch the first ship. His solution? Throw over more cargo and anything else that was weighing the ship down.
The crew did as told and began to throw over more cargo.
Still not enough.
More cargo overboard.
Still not enough to catch that first ship!
Finally, side by side to the first ship, with the destination port in sight, the captain called for his crew to throw over the last bit of cargo. And to his delight, the captain cruised in front of his competition and was the first to pull in to the port!
He had accomplished his goal and beat that other ship to the final destination.
He won! …or did he?
Sure, he made it to the port first, but at the expense of his first priority; delivery of his cargo.
We all have something to learn from this greedy captain:
So many times we propel ourselves to the front of our race whether it be to be the best employee, be the most fit mommy, climb that social ladder, or whatever else it may be. Whichever race we are trying to win the choices we make can propel our standing but hurt those around us. Like the captain, we too can aim to be the best without looking at the people, things, and time we decide to throw overboard.
- If I could just stay at work 45 more minutes to add more research to this presentation, that will prove to the boss I deserve the big promotion…even if it means I will miss dinner with my kids tonight for the third time this week.
- If I can just get this extra work out in after the kids go to bed to help lose those last few pounds…instead of spending that extra one on one time with my partner to talk about their day.
- I can cancel on my plans with my oldest friend…in order to go out with a new group of mom friends who will help me gain social standing in a new city.
We are all faced every day with the choice to stay the course or to throw things overboard in order to propel our personal agenda and desires. It’s not easy to make these decisions. And God knows that I have decided to throw my priorities overboard many times.
But we need to remind ourselves whats truly important:
- Make time to be at home with your little ones to make memories and show them how much you love them.
- Take time to have quiet, intimate conversation with your spouse to focus on their needs as well as your own.
- Value those friendships that mean the most to you and hold them near and dear.
Each day is a blessing and we are never guaranteed another. It’s important to stay the course, trust the timing of your life and keep your priorities in line instead of throwing them overboard.