The early bird gets the worm?

Does the early bird really get the worm?

  We can trace the popularization of the saying “The Early Bird Gets the Worm” in America to the Industrial Revolution and all of those sayings that promoted hard work and detested laziness.

“Haste makes waste.”
“Time is money.”
“That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
“Last one there is a rotten egg.”

  All of these statements speak to the importance of hard work but do they really have any meaningful value?  “The early bird gets the worm” may be good common sense, but when it comes to attaining what is most meaningful to us, it may not be such good advice.


  Take Jesus’ parable of the vineyard in the gospel of Mathew. A guy hires a couple laborers early in the morning and a couple more later on that day. At the end of the day, all get paid the same.

  I feel for those first laborers, don’t you? It is very anti-capitalism isn’t it?

  It appears the first laborer abides by this idea that the early bird deserves the biggest worm. And he probably also believes not only that the work he has done is most valuable because he has done it longest, but that he himself is more valuable to the land owner than the others who came later.

  The question for our own lives is “What is the worm that I am seeking?” What is the real prize of life?

  In order to test “The Early Bird Gets the Worm,” I woke up at 5 am each day for a week. That’s not easy for me as I like to stay up late. Not too late of course, and no not burning incense and reading Rumi poems out loud to myself, but eating jelly beans and watching the daily show.


  When it comes to getting done some of what I’ve been procrastinating about, waking up early was great for me. I think I personally work better in the morning especially on creative tasks, but, I also wonder how much my creativity was due to breaking my routine and doing something out of the box.


  The worm I was looking for was productivity and renewed commitment, and I got it. I will wake up early more often and regularly. Yet, I still also want to play and relax–and that’s a worm I may be better to get at night.


  What’s the worm you are seeking? Know what that worm is and when you want it and go get it.  If we forget what the worm is, our search for it becomes neurotic. We get lost in a work ethic without a work or in a longing without a desire.


  Another thing that drives the first laborers anger in Jesus’ parable is scarcity. This drives the intention behind the saying of “The early bird gets the worm” as well. There’s not enough worms for everyone. There’s not enough money. There’s not enough time. Etc.


  But what if we’re wrong? What if there’s plenty? Are we as apt to get jealous of another’s success? Are we as apt to want for more than we are given? Are we as apt to hold on to what we love in a way that causes us not to savor, but to lose touch with what it really means?


  The gospels teach us that Jesus was a bird watcher. Jesus observes that the birds don’t want. I don’t know any birds personally, but I doubt any own any alarm clocks. Birds catch worms from the ground, and the one most likely to get to them first, is the one who gets there directly after it rains. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Thus, for us, when we know what our worm is, the best thing to do is to prepare for opportunity and go for it when it arises.

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