Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
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Most everyone who knows me personally knows how much birds fascinate me. Some, like my friend … oh, let’s call her Samantha, because that’s her name … shake their head at my bird-love. Samantha has this very teeny, tiny, crippling bird phobia, but I’m working on her.
Others, like my three sisters, share the fascination with me. Or, at least, they did way back when we used to hold our annual “Bird Festival.” The first rule to holding the festival was that someone must be present who had never seen the movie. Once that person was lined up, we’d set a date, then gather in our “The Birds” t-shirts, eat bird-shaped sugar cookies, and watch Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, after which there was a trivia test, with questions like, “How many miles from San Francisco to Bodega Bay?” “What job did Melanie’s father have?” “What kind of birds flew down the Brenner’s fireplace?” and “Which neighbor of Lydia’s had his eyes pecked out?” The winner received a trophy made of a block of wood holding a chipped china cup with a raven perched on its rim. Our other rule was that the winner of the trophy must display it prominently at all times until we held the next festival.
But maybe that’s a discussion for another post.
Aside from The Birds, I never had a real interest in the real thing until we built our house, and someone gave me a hummingbird feeder as a house-warming gift. Suddenly, a whole new world opened up to me. It simply delighted me that I could get such a close view of hummingbirds. To this day, I still can’t get over the sight of those barely-there winglets hovering just outside my kitchen window. My hummingbirds visit all year long, as you can see by this picture I took one winter.
Once the bird-feeding addiction came over me, I started adding feeders. And I can honestly say that if I ran out of coffee and bird seed at the same time, and only had money to buy one, it would be bird seed.
One morning, while watching a hummingbird drinking from his feeder to the right of my window, and five chickadees vying for seed in their feeder on the left of my window, this verse from Matthew came to mind. I stood there reciting to myself, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
And although for thirty-some years before that moment, I had always had the same thought about that verse … which was, “Why should I worry? The same God who feeds the birds will take care of me too,” I suddenly saw something new in the passage.
God makes sure His birds are fed. And in this very small corner of a very small town in Washington, He lets me help Him. Every time I put simple syrup in one feeder or black oil sunflower seeds in the other, I’m doing a task He planned for me. I’m being His bird-feeder.
I never get over the fact that the God of all creation — who needs no help from anyone — will sometimes invite us to put our small hands next to His on the plow. I’m grateful. And it makes me want to keep my ears turned upward, so at the slightest invitation, I’ll do whatever little part He decides to offer me.
“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).