Racing Down the River

Racing Down the River

Someone once said, “True freedom is not a question of doing as we like, but doing as we ought.” Clovis Chappell, a nineteenth-century minister, used to tell an interesting story about two paddleboats. The two boats, powered by coal, left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they travelled side-by-side, sailors from one vessel made some critical remarks and jokes about the snail’s pace of the other boat. Heated words were exchanged between the men on the two boats. Challenges were made. So the race began. The competition was hot and heavy as the two boats roared through the Deep South. Eventually, one boat began falling behind. The problem: it didn’t have enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the boat’s ovens. When his fellow sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as coal, they fuelled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. Guess what? They ended up winning the race. But they burned their cargo. How does this apply to our lives? The men on the winning boat did what they liked, which was winning the race. But

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