WORMS FOR SALE
It is an old story, but is still worth telling. A lark, singing in the high branches of a tree, saw a traveler walking through the forest carrying a mysterious little black box. The lark flew down and perched on the traveler’s shoulder.
“What do you have in the little black box?’ he asked. “Worms,” the traveler replied. “Are they for sale?” asked the lark. “Yes, and very cheap, too, the price is only one feather.”
The lark thought for a moment. “I must have a million feathers. Most of them quite small. Surely “I’ll never miss one of them. Here is an opportunity to get a good dinner for no work at all.” So he told the man that he would buy just one.
He searched carefully under his wing for a tiny, tiny feather. He winced a bit as he pulled it out, but the size and quality of the worm made him quickly forget the pain. High up in the tree he began to sing as beautifully as before.
The next day he saw the same man and once more he exchanged a feather for a worm. “What a wonderful way to get dinner—and no effort at all!” he thought.
We skip the next day, and the next, for we are sure you are way ahead of us. In any event, he lost a feather each day and each loss seemed to hurt less and less. Finally, after the loss of one of his primary feathers, he could no longer reach the top of the tree, let alone fly up into the sky. The lark no longer sang because he was ashamed of his fallen state.
This is how unworthy habits possess us. First, painfully, then more easily until at last we find ourselves stripped of all that lets us soar and sing. This is how our freedom in Christ is lost; sacrificing one by one our Christian virtues for pleasures.