Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Loves Me This I Know"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (NIV)
While I believe Jesus' words that God does feed the birds of the air, I love to watch them flutter around my bird feeders as they chow down for the trip ahead every spring and fall, or if it's summer, to furiously fly off to feed hungry chicks. Their vibrant colours — the red of the cardinals, the blue of the jays, and the yellow of the finches — all captivate me.
However, there are some critters that don't captivate me, and I definitely don't want to encounter them: skunks. Our area has a plethora of them. Many nights, I smell them as they waddle around scarfing up slugs and other not-so-nice insects beneath the feeders. Skunks are among the unintended consequences to my generosity — and so are squirrels.
Although they can be comical to watch, pirate squirrels regularly decimate the contents of my bird feeders. During the process of stuffing their cheek pouches with seeds, squirrels wrap their furry bodies around the feeders, dislodge the lids, and often knock the whole feeder to the ground, scattering seed throughout the grass.
This also feeds the wild rabbits that entertain us with high hops and alert, twitching noses scanning for predatory neighbourhood cats. The felines scarcely faze the squirrels, because the squirrels are so much faster. With cheek pouches stuffed full, these lively critters scamper away, hopping from tree branch to tree branch, quickly hiding their booty in secret storage spots known only to them. Come winter, they've hidden away enough seed that would have fed a huge flock of birds.
When I must buy more seed, my pocketbook takes a hit, but the expense helps the migrating birds make the journey to and from warmer climates. So much enjoyment comes from watching God's critters. They're so valuable.
Even so, Jesus tells us that we humans are much more valuable than the outlay of funds to feed wild and tame critters. Do I truly value other people much more than I value the wild things in my area?
Jesus reminds us that God appreciates and loves each one of us, even though we all at times smell like skunks and do things that we'd rather not remember. Still, God loves us. Like the childhood song goes, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, we are weak, but He is strong." But here is the kicker: because God loves all of us skunks, we are to love each other, even the other skunks.
1 John 4:10-11 – This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord God, we come in Jesus' name, awed by Your critters, and even more, by Your love for us. Thank You … thank You … thank You! Bless all Your creatures and while You're at it, please bless us, too, and enable us to bless others in Your name. Amen.