The Parable of the Fly

Yesterday, President Rasmussen told a parable that I think bears repeating. Later on that day, I was with him in another meeting in another ward, and he told the same story but added to it in a pretty meaningful way.

But first, the story….

President Billeter, 1st Counselor in the Stake Presidency, is famous in his family for killing flies. He just never misses. However, the other day, he missed. His kids were so enthralled with the miss that it became a pretty big deal with each kid pointing out the fly as it went around the house. President Billeter said that his focus became narrowed on seeing that fly die. Eventually the fly landed on a plate glass window, and I think you can finish the story from here….

He did get the fly, though. And a new window.

The parable is in the focus. The first time I heard the story, President Rasmussen suggested that this might be how people fall away from the church and the gospel. In a broader sense, this is who people fail at anything in life. At least it is a way that it happens. When we become so focused on the fly that we can’t see the window, we might get the fly but at what cost?

The first time I heard it, I thought the fly was a lack of testimony, failure to do the little things, or focusing on things that just don’t matter. That’s not an incorrect view point. The second time I heard it, though, President Rasmussen compared the fly directly to the good things that we regularly pursue in our daily endeavors: Money, education, entertainment, and so on. And it’s not that those things are bad, but if they become so consuming of our time and resources that we no longer recognize the big picture, we stand to lose a lot more than we could ever gain.

There are plenty of people who, in the chase of the almighty dollar, find both it and the fact that they are lonely, unhappy, and otherwise detached from true happiness. There are those who chase the dream job only to find that it is all they have left. There are those who chase entertainment and pleasure to the extent that they have no means, no skills, no abilities.

All to catch a fly.

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