by Robert Walker

The Twelve Foot Shuffle
Robert Walker
John 10:1-9

Years ago the famous zoo in Heidelberg Germany purchased a great brown bear from a traveling circus. Now all of his life this big creature had been locked up in a cage 12 foot long and 12' wide. And every hour of the day with its head swaying from side to side it would pace out the dimensions of that cage 12' forward and 12' back.

It drank water from an iron basin and the food it age was pig swell and rotten garbage. The people who came to see it were cruel and they would toss rocks and cigarettes buts into it path to break up the march.

And one man even fed it hamburger with pieces of glass in it and it cut the bear until blood ran down its haunches but somehow it survived. And the brown bear kept marching 12' feet forward and 12' backwards. And the brown bear came to the point that it finally believed this was life and that was all there was to life.

But the day came when they were going to transfer it from captivity to the freedom of the beautiful Heidelberg zoo.
Now life at the Heidelberg Zoo was altogether a different proposition. Their bears didn't live in captivity but on acres of green grass with sparkling pools of crystal clear water to splash in and other bears for fun and fellowship with three square meals a day.

Let's put it this way if you were a bear and you made it to the Handlebar Zoo your had received a promotion. So they wheeled the big iron cage out on the compound and they opened the door and the dramatic moment of freedom came.

And what do you think happen? The big brown bear ignore the open door and the invitation to a bigger life and that big bear just kept on marching 12' forward and 12' back.

They called to it and it wouldn't respond. They offered it food and fellowship and freedom and nothing would entice it to come out of captivity and finally the only way they could break the 12' shuffle was to put fire on the end of a pole and prod it through the bars and at t ...

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