“…like crabs in a basket…”… A derogatory remark, normally associated with a group who is either fighting against each other; or who is trying to hold others in the group back so much so, that there is no chance of progression.
I heard this term used the other day in a sermon at a church meeting. As I was sitting listening, I began to think; instead of fighting, what if someone was willing to be “the last crab”? What if that person was willing to help everyone else out even knowing the possibility that they might have to remain alone, in the basket? Would I be willing to be that crab? Would you be willing to be that crab?
Knowing that you may not have the opportunity to fulfill your dreams and desires, while still helping others, is a great sacrifice. Maybe it is sort of like the George Bailey character in “It’s a Wonderful Life”; or maybe more like Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth, who, after helping themselves, risked everything to continue to help others… despite apparent dangers.
It’s even worse if the dreams and plans others are using started out as your own! Fear is a dangerous thing. When coupled with uncertainty and mistrust, it can paralyze would be heroes to sideline gawkers.
I started to think about scriptures that rang true to describe what makes people move beyond the fear and mistrust factors into action. “…Do unto others as you would have them do…” [Matthew 7:9-12] — The “Golden Rule”? Nah, close but not quite.
Then, I remembered the imprisonment story of Joseph and the king’s butler and the king’s baker in the Book of Genesis – Chapters 40 and 41. The verse that sums it all up for me is found in Genesis 40:14, which reads, “But think on me when it shall be well with thee and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:” In other words, “don’t forget about your boy!”
There is a lot more to this story than I can write here. But in essence, Joseph helped the other two men by sharing information with them that was vital to their futures, knowing that he was going to remain behind [in the basket].
He only asked that he would be remembered and be sent for. Eventually he got out and went on to do great things but only by the move of God. He believed God would work things out and eventually they were.
His willingness to remain behind, in my opinion demonstrates his faith in his God, regardless of deals made with men. Even while being left behind, hestill believed he would accomplish all that God said he would. This demonstrates how to handle just such a situation.
Be encouraged and believe like Joseph remembering that: we can all stay and continue to hold each other back with little to no progress; or someone can make a decision to be the last crab. And for those of you who make it out, don’t forget everybody else who helped you out. You know, the customer who bought that first jacked up product you were selling; or the friend that planted the idea that led to your success; or even the support person who helped you get to where you could not alone. You know who they are…and they know you. Let’s go to work people. It’s time to get out of the basket.
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