What I Learned About Investing in People from an Elephant

One of my favorite children’s books is Horton Hatches the Egg. In the book Horton the elephant is walking by a tree just as Mazie the lazy bird decides she is over sitting on and caring for her egg.

She cons Horton into sitting on the egg as she flies off to take a vacation. Horton sits and sits and sits and that lazy bird Mazie never comes back. As he is caring for this egg Horton gives up his schedule, his free time, he is laughed at and ridiculed, endures harsh weather, is nearly shot and killed, then taken on a ship away from his home to be put on as a side show at the circus.All the while Horton says when he contemplates leaving his post, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant and an elephant’s faithful 100%.”

The faithfulness of Horton protects and loves a bird that doesn’t even belong to him. At the end of the book, the egg hatches, Mazie is back in the picture as the circus tour brought Horton the elephant, egg, nest and tree to Palm Beach where she was vacationing. The egg bursts open and a whole new species had been created. It was an elephant bird. The bird flew like a bird but looked just like Horton!

Amazingly profound. As Horton was faithful, he had no idea how he was helping to form this little bird.  And out comes the world’s very first elephant bird!

I love the story.

I love the resolution.

I love the picture of Jesus and the picture of discipleship seen in the story. As we follow after Jesus we end up looking more like him. We too become a brand new creation. And in the same way we are called in our daily lives to be like “Horton” in the lives of others, with the hope that they too would become a new creation.

I’m fairly certain Horton wondered if his sitting was doing much of anything.When it comes to mentoring and discipleship we don’t always get to see how our investment has formed the individual. It can seem like our investment isn’t making a whole lot of difference.  I know as I’ve poured into others, it has felt at times like I was just sitting on an egg and I wondered if Jesus was doing anything with my investment.

Horton sat without knowing his investment made any difference. He sat because he was faithful to the job he’d taken on. We have also been given a job, not by a lazy mom, but by a loving Father. But unlike Horton, who didn’t know his investment was making any kind of difference, we get to invest knowing that Jesus does a work with our faithfulness to the job we’ve been given. As we are faithful, God is fruitful. He can take our investment and grow a new creation out of it!

Do you see any other lessons to be learned from the story of Horton and the egg?

What other metaphors for discipleship or mentoring relationship do you like to use?

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