FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17

For the Birds

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Last fall my mother gave me a bird feeder – one of the beautiful, hand crafted ones that had to be erected on a post.  For my birthday, my sweetie had it erected, and I have enjoyed it every day since.  I had him position it outside one of the kitchen windows so that I could watch while doing dishes (might be why I see it EVERY day – smile) and while eating breakfast and dinner (two times I most often sit at the kitchen table).

I’ve spent hours watching the birds.  Cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees, Wrens, Robins, Sparrows, Goldfinches, Titmice,  Thrushes, Eastern Bluebirds, Blackbirds, Wood Peckers and Mourning Doves.  And those are just the ones that I recognize!  Now, in case you are wondering, yes, I feed them a variety of seeds and nuts which is why I have so many feathered visitors.  Over time I have noticed the character and habits of some of the frequent visitors.  I thought the Blue Jays and Cardinals were aggressive until those Rusty Blackbirds and Brewer’s Blackbirds came along.  They are larger, louder and quickly take over the feeder – so much so that I’ve since purchased another smaller feeder that I hung from the limb of a tree in my backyard.

Yes, I’ve noticed greedy birds, aggressive birds and persistent birds. But after days and days of watching – morning, night and early evenings, I’ve never seen a bird having a nervous breakdown.  A panic attack.  A pity party.  A worry session.  Even when they have come and found the feeder almost empty because Momma Bird Debbie didn’t refill it yet, they peck at the scraps, fly away and return later – still singing.

What’s my point?  Matthew 6:26 (KJV) tells us to, “Behold the fowls of the air…”  In other words, Stop.  Look.  Learn from the birds.  The passage continues, “…for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.”  They don’t plant, so they don’t harvest.  The Message translation describes the birds as “free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God.”  And while the King James translation of this passage ends with a question – “Are ye not much better than they?” The Message translation concludes with a powerful declarative statement – “And you count far more to Him than birds.”

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this Scripture reads, “There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life” while Barnes’ Notes tells us to, “Put confidence, then, in that Universal Parent that feeds all the fowls of the air, and do not fear but that He will also supply your needs.”

If we read ahead in Matthew, we find two verses, 33 and 34, that conclude this section of the Scriptures, and we are wise to read them in conjunction with verse 6 for they provide the closure to verse six’s lesson:

            33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

            34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day

is the evil thereof.

Let’s go back to Matthew Henry for the clarification. “Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world.”

Bottom line, our worries about the world – hair, clothes, shoes, house, vehicles, job titles, degrees, relationships… – all those things that we believe define us and all those things that we mistakenly label as NEEDS rather than WANTS, do us no good.  Those worries only cause us stress and rob us of peace and joy!  And here are two bonus lessons for you.  Lesson 1:  The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV).  Lesson 2:  Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10, NIV).  And guess what he wants most?  Your joy!  Not your stuff!  He wants your joy because he knows that that is your strength!

I would say that worrying about the world is “for the birds,” but that’s not even true.  Behold.  Look.  Learn from them.  You count far more to our Lord than the birds.  Seek Him and His Kingdom.  “That’s a good way to starve,” you say.  No, that’s the best, the right, the only way to surthrive this world!  Seek Him first and all “the other” will be added!

THIS WEEK BEHOLD the birds.  Look.  Learn from them.  Act on your new learning!

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