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The Grasshopper Mentality
Numbers 13:26-33 & Philippians 4:12-14

Bob Biehl, in his book “Masterplanning,” tells about a conversation he had with a man who trains animals for Hollywood movies. He asked him, “How is it that you can stake down a ten-ton elephant with the same size stake that you use to restrain this baby elephant?”

“It’s easy,” said the trainer. “When they are babies, we stake them down. They try to tug away from the stake countless times before they realize that they can’t get away. At that point the elephant memory takes over and for the remainder of their lives they remain convinced that they can’t get away from the stake.”

Like elephants, humans have long memories. Often when we are young, some unthinking, insensitive person makes a negative statement about you or me, and we happen to hear it. Maybe they say about us, “He is not as smart as the other children” or “She always makes a mess of things,” or “Her personality or disposition is terrible,” or “He has very little leadership ability.” Often at those moments, a mental stake is driven into our subconscious. Years later when we are adults, those stakes are still holding us fast.

Most of our limitations are self-imposed. Often during our childhood years we pick up unrealistic fears and unreasonable insecurities. By the time we reach adulthood, we may have little self-confidence and lots of fears.

In a recent poll taken by Americans in their 20’s, this question was asked: “What is the basic feeling you have about life?” Sixty percent said, “Fear.”1 That surprising data confirms my suspicions that the level of fear and anxiety runs high in America, even in a time of great prosperity.

Most people define themselves either by their problems or their possibilities. Fearful people wake up each morning and locate themselves on a problem chart. But people of faith should wake up and consult their possibility chart. What a difference that makes!

God wants every believer to be confident, positive, and victorious! There are certain Bible verses that we Christians ought to memorize. One of them is Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Our scripture lesson for the morning shows us the stark difference between fearful and faithful people. Let me set the scene for you. The time is approximately 1400 years before Christ. A tribe of 600,000 Israelites has been migrating for about forty years from Egypt to Canaan. When they approached the border of the Promised Land. Moses, the leader, responding to a command from God, sent twelve spies into Canaan to reconnoiter the land and people. After forty days the spies returned. They were unanimous in reporting that the land was rich and productive. Beyond that, the spies disagreed. Ten of them reported that the people of Canaan were huge giants who lived in fortified cities. These spies concluded that the Israelites were not able to overcome them.

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