The cart before the horse.
You’ve heard the expression before. Usually with a “Don’t”. “Don’t” put the cart before the horse. I was curious what I’d find if I went to google images. I found some doozies. Check these out!
Aren’t those great!? They make me laugh. So silly. And yet – so true.
Here’s what I do. I spend an awful lot of time on the cart. Putting more and more stuff inside. Organizing it. Cleaning it up. It’s ok. None of it is bad. The problem is that I spend SO much time on the cart that I very often don’t feed the horse. The horse is malnourished, mistreated and my whole life suffers. Horsepower? None or drained. I sit still or crawl through life instead of flying through it.
Let me give you some examples.
Work instead of rest. There is a tremendous amount in the cart that I call work. When I focus on that cart I get to church and jump right into my day. I never pause to listen to the voice of Jesus. I never open God’s Word. I never abide in him. What ends up happening? I don’t see as much good fruit as I could. I leave church grumpy and tired. I wonder where God is in all of it.
On those days when I spend more time feeding the horse, the cart doesn’t seem so bad. Taking five minutes to be quiet and listen to what Jesus wants to say? That is more energizing than all that coffee I drink in the morning. Making sure I take a few minutes to pray or do a devotion? All of a sudden the cart isn’t so heavy. Imagine that. Geez – you think I would have learned this by now.
I won’t go into specifics here but I’m convinced that Resurrection has the same struggle sometimes. That we spend far to much time on the cart. Putting things inside of it. Straightening it up. Dusting everything off. What happens? There’s no time left – no margin – to feed the horse.
Think about it. In your own life. In our church. In your family. In your marriage.
Here’s two verses:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.
1) Share the two pictures with someone else. Laugh together. And then discuss yourselves. Is there anywhere in your life where you are putting the cart (the lesser important thing) before the horse (the most important thing).
2) The phrase is old. The concept of applying it to your life might be new. Take some time. Are you putting the cart before the horse? Better yet – start asking Jesus: “Am I doing this? Do I have things out of order? Am I putting the cart before the horse?”
3) Start feeding the horse. You probably want to give into the temptation of focusing on the cart. What can I unload? What could I possibly take out of here? Instead….why don’t you just set aside some time. 5 minutes. 30 minutes. A whole day. Schedule it. Feed the horse. Spend some quality time with Jesus. Let him re-energize and renew your life.