Just over a year ago someone asked me the following question, “So are you taking up knitting now? What do you do now that you don’t work?” I admit I did not appreciate the tone in which the question was asked, especially as I was on Prednisone just to be able to walk down the aisle at my son’s wedding without a horrible limp. That aside, it was a valid question. What was I doing with all my “free” time? Going from working full time as an R.N., to staying at home full time (with physical limitations), was a massive change in my lifestyle.
One thing I have enjoyed greatly is having time to feed and watch the birds. Today as I watched the birds, I started thinking about yesterday’s sermon at church. It had to do with the church and the importance of gathering together as a body of believers. Now, I love going to church…even if it is a morning service, which my body sometimes does not appreciate. So, as I watched the different birds at the different feeders, my mind began to consider what we, the people who make up the church, have in common with these little winged creatures.
I have Cardinals who use my feeder year round. They like the sunflower seeds and nuts…the meat. And they are willing to work for that meat, cracking the outer shells and going after the nourishment. These are the mature Christians…willing to take the time and effort to get to the meat of God’s Word. Dedicated, they frequent the feeder year round.
Equally dedicated, but maybe a little more hidden, are the Mourning Doves. They are more than happy to clean up the mess under my feeders. These are the dedicated workers of the church, often unseen, but what a mess it would be without them.
Interestingly enough, the most beautiful birds to frequent the feeders are the nectar seekers. Ah, the colorful Hummingbirds and Orioles. They have quite a following amongst the bird watchers. It is always exciting to see them…yet their season is short. These are the less mature Christians, often using flowery words and ideas, bright and charming; they only want to hear the sweet words, never working for the meat, perhaps encountering something that tastes bitter to them in the process.
Some of my feeder birds are obnoxious! Loud, unpleasant in voice, and sometimes in appearance too! These are the Jays, Grackles, Starlings, and Blackbirds. I sometimes toy with not putting out the peanuts and suet that attract them, but then I realize that they deserve to be fed as well. We have all encountered these people. The ones you silently judge and wish would move on to another church…though deep down you know they deserve to be treated the same as a child of God. The people who stretch us to become more like Christ by accepting them.
Squirrels! Every person who feeds birds tries vainly to keep them away, usually to no avail! If you own a feeder it is pretty likely a squirrel will attempt to feed there…eating all your food, so that your birds feel forced to find another feeder. Then off the squirrel will go, always in search of a bigger and better meal to devour. It is unfortunate that many of us have experienced these people, the ones who leave a wake of broken or split churches behind them. Often on to the next church that will feed their ego instead of their soul.
No feeder is complete without the bevy of Song Sparrows that frequent them. They have a pleasing song, though perhaps not standing out much in appearance. Yet our feeders would be quite bare without them. These people make up the bulk of our congregation. Many simply come to be fed and fill the pews…not a bad thing…but perhaps not growing much either. Not quite ready to step out on faith and serve.
So, in the style of Barbara Walters, ask yourself…if I were a bird, what kind would I be? Is this the bird you want to be? The great thing is…we are not birds…we can change, grow, and mature. And finally, give your Pastor, the one desperately trying to keep all the feeders full, a big thank you.
In Him ~Marla