Jesus appears especially appreciative of birds as lifestyle exemplars. (See Matthew 6:25ff.) He notes God’s providence for these delightful creatures, reminding us not to let worry take over our brains and bodies. Because I have frequent opportunities to observe birds in their natural habitat, I offer these extra-biblical observations—what we can learn from the birds.
When they are nesting, looking for food or finding mates, birds can be mean to each other. For example, when they are looking for a drink of water, my backyard birds are not given to sharing. Even when not sipping water, they drive off other, equally thirsty birds.
Like many of God’s creatures, they foul their surroundings with their droppings. The detritus from their feedings litter their surroundings—they scatter around bits of feathers, partially eaten fruit and leftover nest materials.
Even though they are dependent on God’s providence, birds spend almost every waking moment searching for sustenance. They work tirelessly to find what food might be lying around—including fruit and vegetables perhaps intended for other purposes.
Birds contribute to the balance-of-nature that keeps my yard free of insects. They provide visual beauty and spread seeds to surprising places. They herald seasons and grace the air with their flight and their greetings, announcements and warnings.
In a longer, bird-inspired sermon, Jesus might also have drawn lessons about sharing resources, protecting our families, cleaning up after ourselves, providing beauty, finding sustenance in surprising places, gathering together (in flocks?) for mutual benefit and singing to each other every day!
I’m grateful for the smaller lifestyle lessons birds teach me, and so invite you to join me today—in a setting that you enjoy—considering our feathered friends and the examples they offer!
Perhaps other sermons worthy of our attention….