“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:25-26 NRSV
For the last couple of days, I have been intently watching a barn swallow that has constructed a nest in the eaves of our front porch. She has been nesting there for several days, often flying in and out in search of evergreen twigs and such. But in the last few days she appears to be content to remain in the warm confines of her nest. Certainly eggs are present and soon the chirps of baby swallows should become evident. The more I watch her, the more I have to resist the temptation to go out and take a peek. The nest is no more than five feet away from the window, but I would need our small step ladder to get high enough to see inside. Truthfully, I don’t want to intrude in that way.
The yard of our new home, for all intents and purposes, is somewhat of a bird sanctuary. We have plenty of trees and large bushes for them to nest in, and we also have placed several bird feeders in the back yard. I’ve noticed some birds will come to our pool for a refreshing drink of water. There are many woodpeckers who search the trees for food while cardinals, jays, bluebirds and sparrows compete with the squirrels for fallen seed from the feeders. All in all, the birds in and around our yard have all they need provided for them, and our Mrs. Barn Swallow feels secure enough to raise her family here as well.
We humans can learn plenty from watching the birds. In this vast world of ours, God has given all that we need to live life abundantly. There really is plenty of food that we can share amongst ourselves, an abundance of water to keep us satisfied, and plenty of other resources that we can use to provide shelter for those who have no place to lay their head. The problem is that, unlike the birds that only use what they need, we humans over consume using all that we can.
In the face of thousands upon thousands of homeless and hungry people, much of the world is preoccupied with getting its fair share at the best possible price. We run our heating and air units so we can be comfortable, and we enjoy grabbing a snack out of our pantries and refrigerators that are seemingly well stocked. We live in a world corrupted by greed and the powers of self indulgence, and we protest against high fuel prices and the rising cost of groceries. All the while, many who live in abundance neglect those who need the most, but have the least.
I do realize that there are many people who do share what they have with those in need, and no, this is not meant to throw a guilt trip on anyone for I am just as guilty as the next person. No guilt trip, not unless you feel so inclined to be moved by guilt and read this post in such a light. Still, through the simple act of watching the birds in our back yards, we can be reminded that we are called to be stewards of all God has created. Christians need not worry about the things we need to live life abundantly, God has already provided everything. Living with this assurance, we should; however, recognize the joy and freedom that comes with such abundance, and cheerfully give of ourselves and our possessions so that those who are in greater need will realize the abundance of life with our Heavenly Father.
Gracious and generous God, just as you provided manna for the children of Israel so long ago, we know that you provide for your children today. Guide us in the way of being good stewards of all you have entrusted into our care. Empower and enable us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and provide shelter for the homeless. Especially guide and direct the hearts of your people as we come to aid those in need. By our efforts may you be glorified and given thanks and praise. We pray for this and all that you see we need in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen