LESSONS FROM A SPARROW
Where I sit to have my morning time with God, I can look out a window and observe birds at my bird feeder hanging in the Red Bud tree. Now, my favorite birds are the colorful ones like Cardinals, Goldfinches, Blue Jays, Red-Winged Black Birds, and Baltimore Orioles that all occasionally visit. But the great majority of birds that come to my feeder are Sparrows. I am more attracted even to the soft-spoken Grey Doves and the brown Cow Birds with golden flecks on their feathers than the plain brown and tan flecked feathers of the Sparrow.
However, just this past week I found I was learning several important lessons from a mother Sparrow as she endeavored to feed her babies at my feeder.
1. Focus On Your Assignment
There were four of them. They were round fat little puff balls old enough to fly but still considered babies in their own minds. They lined up on a tree branch chirping and fluttering their wings so Mama would feed them. I even saw some land on the bird feeder and yet not feed themselves. In contrast to their fat little bodies, Mama was very lean. She was obviously working hard to raise these greedy little fellows. But she continued to focus on her assignment from God to raise the next generation successfully. Psalm 84:3 says that the Sparrow lays her nest at God’s altar. The lesson is that your children belong to God, but you have an assignment to work with Him with all of your might to raise the next generation to serve Him.
2. Be Faithful No Matter The Cost
One of the fruits of the Spirit is Longsuffering. We don’t like suffering at all but we really hate the LONG part of Longsuffering. How long had this poor Mama Sparrow been raising her babies between setting on eggs and finding enough food for four greedy-guts let alone her own needs? They were obviously big enough to fly and find their own food even simply from the bird feeder but she was still faithfully completing her job until they finally got it and grew up. Then she would rest for a while. The lesson is to complete the task with no quitting before it’s done.
3. Be Grateful and Accepting
I began to wonder where Daddy Sparrow was. Why wasn’t he helping Mama with such a formidable task? Then one day he flew in with food he had gathered elsewhere. He began to feed the babies and even Mama herself was fed. Then I realized that Daddy had been foraging for other nutrients that the Bird Feeder didn’t offer. He may have found other kinds of seed, grubs, or worms to add to the health of the little ones. I didn’t see Mama Sparrow chirp/yell at him or peck at him because he had been gone so long and left the majority of the work to her. I realized she had no idea the price he had paid to bring the family food. How many hawks had he outwitted and out flown? How many miles had he fought the wind to find the right food for the family? She didn’t know and he didn’t tell her. She simply, gratefully accepted his contribution. The lesson is we don’t know the price others pay for us so quit being critical and express gratefulness.
4. Sparrows Are Not Flashy
As I said before, I liked the brighter colored birds but the great majority that eat at my feeder are Sparrows. There are a lot of Sparrow typed people in this world and we all seem to pick on ourselves about it wishing we were more “colorful”. Even in the Bible, Sparrows were so cheap to buy for the sacrifice that the poorest could afford them. The books of Mathew and Luke tell us they went for two for a penny and five for two pennies at the right sellers. And yet we are also told in Matthew 10:31 and Luke 12:7 that to God we are of more value to Him than many sparrows. The lesson here is if God values me then who am I to cut myself down? Romans 14:4 tells us not to judge the servant of another. If I’m God’s faithful servant than I can’t even judge me. It’s His job.
5. God Cares
Yes, sparrows are common and not very colorful but Matthew 10:29 and Luke 12:6 say that not one falls without God knowing it, and they are never forgotten by God. The lesson is, if one little common bird is so attentively cared for by God, then shouldn’t I also go about my assignment with the same confidence of God’s attentive care on me that this little Mama Sparrow has?