Death by Orange Peel

Do you fight big battles and seem to win, but fail in the little things? That’s what Bobby Leach did as a stuntman.

In 1911, he became the first man ever to go over Niagra Falls. First, he enclosed himself in an 8-foot-long steel barrel, which he rode through the rapids to the whirlpool. Next, he parachuted from the Upper Suspension Bridge. Finally, he rode it the barrel down over the Falls on a subsequent day. Amazingly he survived, though he suffered a broken jaw and kneecaps and spent six months in the hospital.

Over the next 15 years, he toured the world with his barrel. And in 1926, something ironic and tragic happened. During a visit to New Zealand, he stepped on an orange peel and fell. This fractured his leg, introduced gangrene infection and led to amputation. Two months later, he died from complications. (To learn more, click here.)

This unfortunate and ironic true story about Bobby Leach illustrates what happens to many Christians. We focus on seemingly big and important challenges in life, our Niagra Falls (our jobs, our education, our reputation), but overlook the little challenges we encounter every day, our orange peels.

But Scripture reminds us:

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15)

Relationships  fail (with God and with people) when we overlook the little things – the miscellaneous words, the brief conversations, the little temptations, the passing promises, the fleeting minutes here and there. Little foxes slip in elusively, and slowly destroy entire vineyards. And in a similar way, little personal failures unaddressed will lead to bigger problems.

Marriages fail. Families fail. Reputations fail. Churches fail. And how? By overlooking the little things in the pursuit of seemingly big things.

Are you chasing big dreams and overlooking little important details in your daily routine and personal relationships? Perhaps it’s time to stop pursuing Niagra Falls in a barrel and to pay more careful attention to your orange peels. I urge you to do so, before it’s too late.


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