Matthew 6:26 – Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not better than they? (KJV)
A beautiful big Western Cedar sits outside our kitchen window. Balancing on its branches are a few feeders which attract several sorts of little songbirds, such as pine siskins, chickadees, finches, sparrows, and the like.
It's interesting to watch the pecking order that seems to be respected among the birds, and to see the ones that are greedy, picking at any of their own species that come around — especially when they're well fed and could move along. They dart at them, flap their wings, peck, and chase them off, while greedily guarding their free food.
While my husband and I were conversing in the kitchen one morning, the corner of our eyes caught a flurried flutter of wings through the window. The birds had scattered, forgoing their feeding, and were nowhere in sight. Instead, there was a lovely-looking bird, which at first we thought to be a young owl, but on closer consideration found to be a sharp-shinned hawk.
At my husband's suggestion that it must be looking for food, I consulted my bird book to see what I might put out for nourishment. To my disdain, I found it feeds on songbirds, liking especially to frequent their feeding stations. It is part of life's food chain.
Seeing the birds peck and chase each other off when they have more than they need serves to remind us of how petty and cruel it is to pick on others verbally or physically, by pointing out our perception of their faults. How our selfishness and greed keep others at bay, denying them fulfillment when we are already "full"!
The hawk, on the other hand, serves to remind us of how our lives can change in the blink of an eye, and of how, unsuspectingly, we can be fooled by things that at first sight seem good and beautiful, but can actually be harmful.
It may be natural for birds to have a pecking order and for hawks to sup on songbirds as part of the food chain. But it isn't natural for people to "eat away" or "peck" at each other for the sake of self-fulfillment. Nor must we allow ourselves to be fooled by things that at first glance may seem glamorous or attractive, when they are forbidden by the word of God.
1 Peter 5:8 – Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, may we learn from the birds of the air the things we ought not to do, the ways we must not treat each other, and the glamour of things that can distract us from You. In Your name, we pray. Amen.