Keith Wishum: Choose your battles carefully
Published 12:48 pm Saturday, April 27, 2019
A wealthy, big-city attorney went duck hunting in rural Arkansas. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer started to climb over the fence, an old, sun-baked gentleman asked him what he was doing.
The lawyer responded, “I shot a duck and it fell in this field; I’m going into retrieve it.”
The farmer replied. “This is my property, and you are not coming over here.”
The indignant lawyer, accustomed to getting his way, said, “I am one of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. and, if you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything!”
The farmer smiled and said, “That’s not how we do things here in Arkansas. We settle arguments with the Three-Kick Rule.”
The lawyer asked, “What is the Three-Kick Rule?”
The farmer explained. “Well, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up.”
The young attorney decided that he could easily take the old southerner, so he agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly walked over. His first kick landed the toe of his heavy boot in the lawyer’s groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick shattered the man’s nose and sprawled him flat on his back. The third kick did permanent damage to a kidney.
Mustering every bit of his competitive nature, the attorney dragged himself to his feet. Finally standing, he said, “OK, you old redneck, now it’s my turn.”
The farmer grinned and said, “Naw; I give up. You can have the duck.”
Sometimes the prize isn’t worth the fight. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to win that we forget what it is we’re fighting for.
Jesus once asked, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Like 9:25). Good question. Some spend years fighting to accumulate wealth only to discover that it’s dead and they’ve lost themselves in the fight.
Someone wisely advised, “Choose your battles carefully.” Some things are important enough to fight for them. Others are dead ducks and not worth allowing ourselves to get beaten up for them. So, it’s a good question to ask ourselves: “What is it that I’m fighting for?”
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.