The Eagle Does Not Catch Flies

Robert J. Shiller said, “The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence.” 1 bald-eagle-1428459-m

In Spurgeon’s autobiography, he relates,

“During one of my many holidays at Stambourne, I had a varied experience which I am not likely to forget.

My dear grandfather was very of fond of Dr. Watt’s hymns, and my grandmother, wishing to get me to learn them, promised me a penny for each one that I should say to her perfectly.

I found it an easy and pleasant method of earning money, and learned them so fast that grandmother said she must reduce the price to a halfpenny each, and afterwards to a farthing, if she did not mean to be quite ruined by her extravagance.

There is no telling how low the amount per hymn might have sunk, but grandfather said that he was getting overrun with rats, and offered me a shilling a dozen for all I could kill.

I found, at the time, that the occupation of rat-catching paid me better than learning hymns, but I know which employment has been more permanently profitable to me.

No matter on what topic I am preaching, I can, even now, in the middle of my sermon, quote some verse of a hymn in harmony with the subject; the hymns have remained with me, while those old rats for years have passed away, and the shillings I earned by killing them have been spent long ago.” 2

“The eagle does not catch flies”There is an old Latin proverb which states,

“The eagle does not catch flies,”

meaning that a noble person does not give overmuch time to insignificant issues.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus told us to “seek first the kingdom of God.”

He is teaching us to seek first God’s rulership, righteousness, and resourcefulness in our lives. In addition, Mark 12:30 says we are to love the Lord with all our heart, and Colossians 3:1, 2 tells us to give priority to spiritual things, verses earthly.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” 3

Copyright © 2014, D & L Publications, All rights reserved.


1 Robert J. Shiller, Irrational Exuberance, Princeton University Press, Reader’s Digest, November, 2000.

2 Robert G. Lee, Sourcebook of 500 Illustrations, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, Copyright 1964, p. 16.

3 Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe –