This “Application” column goes with the Study for Jan. 24, 2021: Singular Servants(Matthew 6:19-34)
Last spring my wife, Candy, put a decorative wreath on the front door of our house. A little brown wren decided the wreath would be a good place to build a nest. Some say it’s a sign of good luck when a bird builds a nest on your front door. To me, it meant there was going to be a mess on our porch.
It was interesting, though, to watch the mother bird gather sticks, moss, grass, and straw, and weave them into a sturdy round nest tucked expertly into the wreath. Every time we opened our front door it disturbed the bird, but she persevered. Eventually four eggs hatched. The wren fed her four babies until they were big enough to fly off on their own, just as they were designed to do.
“Look at the birds of the air,” Jesus said (Matthew 6:26), for they display God’s creative artistry. Consider their variety. Chickens, ducks, and geese. Red cardinals and blue jays. Perky yellow canaries, pesky black crows, and bulky white turkeys. Graceful herons, storks, and swans. Wise owls, innocent doves, majestic peacocks, ominous ravens, quirky ostriches, and funny-looking kiwi birds. Hard-working woodpeckers, cheerful robins and parakeets. Black-and-white penguins and rainbow-colored macaws.
Birds fill the air with interesting sounds. They serenade us with songs, tweets, chirps, honks, clucks, quacks, hoots, gobbles, and whistles. Parrots and mynah birds can even imitate human speech.
Humans build machines that fly, but God engineered birds with sturdy, lightweight muscles, bones, and wings so they do it naturally. Geese soar in V formations. Hummingbirds fly forward, backward, upward, sideways, and upside down, and they can hover with their wings beating 70 times per second. Some birds are guided by an internal compass that directs them with uncanny accuracy; they migrate thousands of miles to warmer climates to find insects and seeds during the winter months.
His Eye Is on the Sparrow
Our feathered friends illustrate God’s ability to provide for us. Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” God “satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5). The prophet wrote, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
In first-century Israel, sparrows were so cheap you could buy two of them for a penny (Matthew 10:29-31). If you were willing to buy four, the dealer would throw in an extra one for free—yet, “not one of them is forgotten by God” (Luke 12:6). Jesus didn’t say a sparrow would never fall; he said they never fall without the Father’s awareness (Matthew 10:29). Jesus didn’t promise we would escape all hardship. He said whatever happens, he will be with us. Jesus perhaps had a twinkle in his eye as he stated the obvious, “You are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).
One thing birds never do is worry. And even if they did, worry wouldn’t help them find food, build nests, sing songs, escape predators, or look more beautiful. Birds stay busy doing what they were created to do, relying on God’s provision. We’re wise to do the same.
Personal Challenge: What worries you right now? Talk about that issue with God and discuss it with another trusted friend.