Watching Birds, Seeing People

I enjoy watching the many birds in my backyard, so in went a birdfeeder and birdbath. They bring even more birds and I get a closer view of them. I keep my binoculars on our kitchen table, which overlooks the backyard. Often I get a picture of different kinds of people by watching the birds. Let me explain. 

Some birds willing share the food in the feeder, a goldfinch this morning even moved over so another could join it. However, when a third finch, which was female, came along, the second would not let it sit at the feeder. Birds don’t fight like cats or dogs do, but this second finch went to where the third was trying to sit and flapped his wings (you can tell because the males have more yellow on them) until the female flew off. (This one happened to be male but I’ve seen females do that also.) Now sometimes they are willing to share with several other finches or even the chickadees or titmice. I don’t know what the difference is because there’s plenty of food for all of them.

Connecting these birds with different people is obvious: some willingly share whatever they can while others think only of getting everything for themselves. I just wonder how many Christians fall into that first category. Do I? It’s a question only we ourselves can answer because we’re the only ones who really what our resources and obligations are. We are also the only ones who know the motivation of our hearts. If we’re sharing or giving to impress people, we lose the joy in it.

Whether we’re sharing or giving food, money or other resources such as time, we must decide what we can give and then be glad about it. Otherwise, we’ll regret whatever we share. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7*, I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.” Which of these birds represents you?


* THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.