05 August, 2010

A Snake is a Snake

I was chatting online today with someone who was whining about their circumstances and making excuses for themselves for trying to blame their mess on everyone else. I was reminded of something I used in a sermon illustration I once used. It can speak for itself.

There is an Indian legend that I heard many years ago. 
The story is told that Native American - Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees & bright with flowers. There he looked up at the surrounding mountains, and noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling white snow.  “I will test myself against that mountain,” he thought.  He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. 

When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, saw a snake. 
Before he could move, the snake spoke. “I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is no food, and I am starving. Please, put me under your shirt and take me down into the valley.”  “No,” said the youth. “I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.” 

“Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.” 

The youth resisted for awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake, with beautiful markings. 

At last the youth took pity on the reptile, picked it up, tucked it under his shirt, and carried it down into the valley.
There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and struck—biting him on the leg. 
“But you promised!” cried the youth. 

“You knew what I was when you picked me up” said the snake as he slithered away.

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