Run like a hamster or climb like a monkey?

My family recently moved across the country. There’s nothing like a move to make one feel like a hamster in his wheel! It got me thinking about how easily I can get duped into thinking that my role as a “good and faithful steward” is to run faster and harder.

Run like a hamster.

There once was a hamster who worked very hard at running. Every day he dutifully got in his wheel and ran through all the rungs that came in front of him. Every rung that passed was another accomplishment. Therefore, in his mind, the longer he ran the more productive he was. If he ran faster, things really got done.  Plus, he thought he could detect a smile start on the face of the owner (who watched from above) whenever he saw the whir of productivity.

Of course all this running was exhausting. Hamster kept track of how many rungs passed in a day. For a while, it motivated him to see the numbers climb. He threw a great celebration when he tripled his original rung tally. Then he was motivated to triple it again. But slowly he realized there was no end to that race. There would always be a triple-number goal ahead before satisfaction could be reached.

He turned to motivational speakers and books. There he found a trove of answers to the how, the what, the when and the where questions for getting the wheel to move. Employing these techniques got it whirring smooth and quick! What was gnawing at his rapidly beating heart, though, was a why question. The gurus didn’t answer that very well.  This left him busy, but more and more a despondent little hamster.

Climb like a monkey.

There once was a monkey who lived at the base of a big cliff. One day he heard the call of a man calling from the top of the cliff. The kindly man dropped a rope ladder down, explained that many of his important things were down in the land where the monkey lived but were needed in the land at the top of the cliff. The monkey was very good at climbing and got better as he carried the man’s things up the ladder day after day.

Monkey was pleased that he could get so much up to the top of the cliff. After many months, his speed and agility had certainly improved significantly, but this didn’t excite him much. It was seeing how the man used what he brought that really moved him. Every trip to the top, monkey watched as the man used the grain or bandages or tents to feed, heal and protect thousands of baby monkeys that the man was nursing back to health at the top. The more he saw, the more monkey scurried up and down the ladder, eager to see some more. The more the monkey saw, the more the man was pleased as well.

God’s motivating fuel for me as a steward.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

When I look at what’s in my hands, I see a lot of relationships, treasure, talents and time. Like the hamster, I can work strenuously to develop as many as I can, then spend them on my comforts and pursuits and let the remainder pass on to heirs. Or, like the monkey, I can recognize that my Lord put them in my hands so that He can do incredible things with them. The former feels good for a while, but eventually exhausts me. The latter seriously motivates for a lifetime!

If donations to Food for the Hungry have felt like just another rung in your wheel, let’s do something different.  We want you climbing to see what God is doing up on the cliff! Let’s talk about ways you, as a steward, can get a motivating sense of what God is doing with what you’re bringing Him.

If this got you thinking, let me recommend this short video by Jay Link. For more stewardship thoughts visit our FH Legacy Giving site or contact me at or 800-248-6437 ext. 1558.

About Sean Mills

Married with 2 fine daughters 8 yrs. of service with Food for the Hungry My passion - to help stewards honor God with what He's placed in their hands.

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