Have you ever seen a worried bird? What a strange question. Of course not, you say! I’ve been thinking a lot about this the past few weeks, and soon we go into the new year of 2018. Many worries and fears are out there, and in us perhaps. Sometimes it amazes me all the possible things that humans can worry about. Most of which never come close to materializing.
But not so with a bird. The other day I saw a beautiful blue woodpecker flying just outside our window. It did what it is created to do, be gorgeous and peck at wood. I tried to imagine what it would look like with a worried look on its face, or any bird for that matter. Take a moment and think about that. A bird lands near you, looks up and the little face is twisted with worry and fear. Feed me, it grimaces, and then flies away. Not very likely of course.
I first heard this phrase about seeing a worried bird from Loren Cunningham, the co-founder of the mission we have worked with for almost 39 years. He was giving a message with the same title, probably first given in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. I heard it at the end of the 70’s, probably first by cassette tape. (You can find it at youtube if interested.) The message is based on a passage in the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 25-33, part of what is called the Sermon on the Mount. In these verses, Jesus talks about not being anxious about our lives, what we will eat and drink or wear. He points to the birds of the air in verse 26, saying “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap not gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
Jesus then goes on to also talk about the lilies of the field, and how they also do not need to worry by toiling or spinning. His conclusion for those listening, and for us today is this: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”
Whether it is lilies, or birds, there is no worry or fear. They will be provided for, and they will fulfill the purpose of their creation. But we as humans struggle so. We don’t know the purpose of our creation, we worry and fear most of our waking hours. Most of us would confess heading into 2018 in four days that we are fearful of what a new year may bring. Yet we can receive the peace that our Creator longs to give us. We don’t have to be worried birds. We can learn to be content with the lot in life we have, the provision we have been given. We don’t have to compete with other birds, but can rest in the beauty we have. Our purpose is our own, though it may require a seeking out.
Happy new year, friends. Let’s toast to not being worried birds in 2018. Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well. It really is true.
(Thanks for the image of the worried bird to “Worried Bird Window cleaning”.)
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