The 365 Commitment

The Cow and the Ox

I heard someone casually refer to how unfortunate it was that I had to work so hard today. Not sure what was meant by that, but I think that perhaps the person thought that their job was so much easier. That got me to thinking about my view of things. Sometimes, I make similar comparisons probably on an unconscious level. As we think about our lot in life, it is easy to play comparisons and to pass judgement on others and even worse, ourselves.

When we compare, we are comparing at an instance of time and not with the complete picture. Nothing states this point further than Aesop’s fable on the Cow and the Ox. Here is the basics of the story.

A cow, grazing in a pasture sees an ox hard at work pulling a plow in the neighboring field. She compares her life of leisure to the ox’s life of hard work day in and day out. She laughs at the ox, and points this difference out. The ox just nods and continues to plow on. Months go by, the ox continues to work, the cow grazes lazily in the sun getting fat and staying very happy. She continues to poke at the ox. Then at the end of summer, the cow is taken to slaughter for the harvest festival. As she is led to her fate, the ox just shrugs and continues to pull his plow through yet another day of work.

Perspective is the slayer of judgement. We are always well equipped to judge when faced with a point in time, a slice of circumstance. However, when given the full timeline, the complete story and seeing the true outcome our judgements just seem plain silly.

I suppose that the larger the perspective the more trivial and ridiculous the judgments of individuals appear to be. A sage and wise old grandmother must look upon the smart teenage grand daughter’s impulsive decision much like the ox did the cow. God, with an eternal perspective, must see the decisions made by his creation as impetuous.

Next time you try to pass a judgement on yourself or others by making comparisons, consider first your perspective. Chances are you are being very short sighted indeed.

Guy Reams

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