WARNING: Interacting with this post will get into your head and stay there - for a very long time!
Last year one of my boys introduced me to Bryant Oden's genius Duck Song. I say genius because for a short and simple song (with video) first uploaded in 2009 - it has already had a whopping 59,924,170 hits!! That is some achievement.
What is the appeal? Well, watch the link below and you will see for yourself .....
Cute and catchy eh? Now, I challenge you to watch it again without singing along - it just can't be done!!
So - that is it, there is no going back! The Duck Song is well and truly inside your head - and for that I do apologise a little. However, my hope is, that in sharing this song with you, it will find its way not only into your head, but also you thoughts, your mind and your heart. You see, I believe this simple (if not annoying!) song has a lot to teach us. Really? I invite you to read on ...
The story begins with the duck walking up to a lemonade stand and asking ... got any grapes?
However, to his dismay, he soon discovers there are no grapes on offer .... and he waddles away ... till the very next day ...
Our duck friend doesn't seem to learn from this, as the following day, he walks back up to lemonade stand, and again asks ... got any grapes?
Once again, the duck is to learn that the lemonade stand has no grapes to offer, and he waddles away ... till the very next day ...
Despite being very bright in colour, it would seem that Mr Duck lacks a certain amount of intelligence, and visits the same lemonade stand a total of five times, each time asking for grapes. Why would he do this?
My guess is that such was his desire for grapes that he would do whatever was needed in order to get some. He had his heart and mind fixed on grapes and nothing else seemed to matter, including continued knock-backs.
Silly duck. We wouldn't have been so daft right?
Well I don't think we would have gone to a lemonade stand for grapes in the first place. However, dare I suggest we can be guilty of doing something similar? Probably not with grapes, but with something else that we strive for in life. Things that we believe we cannot live without. Things that we are convinced will make us happy.
There is nothing wrong with any of these, just like there is nothing wrong with grapes, but as with most things it is all about moderation and priorities. If all we ever bought and ate were grapes we would soon find ourselves feeling rather ill. We need a balanced diet. We need a balanced lifestyle.
Is there a particular 'grape' that is consuming you at the moment? Is it all you think about and strive for in order to reach that place you believe will bring you happiness? Perhaps you have been neglecting other areas in your life in order to achieve this? Is this 'grape' really going to satisfy you and make you happy - forever?
The fifth time the duck approaches the lemonade stand - he is successful. The Lemonade Man decides he has had enough of the duck pestering him and takes him to a local supermarket and buys him his long awaited and much sought after grapes!
A moment of happiness? Of sheer joy? Of absolute satisfaction?
Straight away the duck realises the grapes weren't as good as he thought they would be. They didn't bring him the satisfaction and happiness he was expecting.
It can be the same with us and our 'grapes'. When we finally get there, achieve our grapes, reach our target, we often find that it is not as we had anticipated. The joy, peace, love, excitement, satisfaction etc that we thought our 'grape' would bring doesn't. Or perhaps it does for a while, but then ...
Relationships are broken
Jobs are lost
Money runs out
Gadgets become dated ...
Most things in life fade or come to an end sooner or later. We cannot guarantee anything will last forever. Almost anything ...
The duck, having turned down the rest of the grapes, has a bit of an 'aha' moment, and realises that what he really needed had actually been on offer the whole time - the Lemonade.
On the hot and sunny days, the lemonade would cool him down and refresh him. It was what he needed. He had just been so set on the grapes he hadn't realised.
We can find ourselves in the same situation. When focused intently on our 'grapes' we may overlook the one thing in life that will bring us absolute satisfaction, the one thing that will give us a full life, the one thing that will not fade or fail.
A relationship with Jesus.
The love that Jesus offers is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It ALWAYS protects, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS perseveres. It NEVER Fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
The man at the lemonade stand must have known the refreshment that the lemonade would bring, but he never forced it on the duck. Each time he offered it, and suggested the duck try it, but he didn't pour a glass and ram it down his beak. The duck had to try it for himself. It had to be his choice.
Jesus does the same with us. He knows what we really need, but wont force it on us. He waits as we go after various 'grapes' in search of happiness and fulfillment. He waits when we ignore his promises and put our trust in other things. He may nudge us, and speak to us along the way, but he will never force us to listen and turn to him. He waits.
The Bible says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20), but he will never open the door for himself. He waits for us to open it and let him in.
Opening the door to Jesus is the only way we will find total satisfaction in our lives.
It will bring a peace that nothing else in life can. It will fill that hole, that longing, that need that you have been searching for. It will bring life to the full.
You may have already opened the door, and know what a relationship with Jesus brings - but I challenge you to consider whether there are any 'grapes' that are beginning to sneak back in and take priority in your life. Who or what is the first thing you turn to when things get a bit tough - is it still Jesus? Are you focusing on the 'grapes' instead of the true vine?
Or perhaps you have never really stopped to think about what a relationship with Jesus will bring you. Maybe you have been too busy searching for something else? Maybe you are at a place where you think there must be something more in life? There is ...
Jesus stands at the door and knocks - he has been waiting for you to invite him in - so that he can bring you the hope and fulfillment you have been searching for and a love that never fails.
Are you prepared to see your 'grapes' as they really are - as something that may look and taste good for while - but will eventually begin to rot?
Are you prepared to put them down and listen to the one who really knows what it is you need?
The duck realised the grapes weren't enough, acknowledged it, and returned to the lemonade.
Will you do the same today? Will you turn back to Jesus? He waits ...
[The above post was originally written for a Sunday Lite outreach talk at Wessex. I have the full notes and an additional video clip link if anyone would like a copy]