There is a story from long ago about a little boy who lived out in the country. Having heard that the circus was coming to the nearby town, the boy asked his dad if he could go see it. After all, he had never been to a circus, and this was such a rare opportunity. His dad promised that if he saved his allowance and finished his chores, the lad could go the circus.
The big day arrived, and the young boy proudly clutched his dollar and walked with excitement all the way to town. He was just in time as the parade of animals and jugglers and dancers marched through the streets of the town. He had managed to squirm his way to the front of the crowd to get a perfect spot to see it all.
He loved how the elephant latched on to the tail of the one in front of it and made a little train. He was in awe of the huge, beautiful tiger riding in its decorated cage. His favorite part, however, had to be the clowns. Big shoes, painted happy faces, colorful clothes, and wild orange hair. They made him laugh and laugh. And that was the end.
People began to disperse, and one single man walked behind the clowns waving to the crowds. The little boy gave the man his dollar and practically ran home to tell his father all that he had seen.
However, the little boy did not realize that what he saw was only the beginning. He did not notice the big tent that everyone was entering. He enjoyed what he saw, but he missed the animals and their tricks, the trapeze artists, the clowns riding in their little car, the great ring master, and all the other amazing sights. He saw the parade, but he missed the show, the real attraction.
There are times that a person's impatience brings about a similar fate. We settle for good when we could have waited for better; we settle for better rather than waiting for the best.
In another manner, too often we manage to draw conclusions about certain people or events without an attempt to obtain all the information. We seem quick sometimes to believe what we read on the internet or hear one person.s perspective that usually is biased.
Yet, in one more scenario, we miss a lot of good in life because we are too caught up in the parade, which represents the peripheral things around us. We are apt to become so focused on the minor and the secondary matters that we may miss the big show.
In his teachings, Jesus spoke of it in terms of treasure. He said that we should store up for ourselves treasures that will last, that rust and moth cannot destroy things that are eternal. Everything else is secondary. Those things that waste away and erode are mere fleeting pleasures. The wise man will live a life focused on the things that will never fade away.
Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.