Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Squirrels and Birds


Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

One of our favorite things to do here around the house is just to watch the wildlife.  We put out corn in two squirrel feeders, bird seed for the birds, and just sit and watch them.  We listening to the birds sing, watching for the occasional rabbit or wild turkey to come around, and pass the time in complete peace.
But lately we’ve had a lot more squirrels than usual.  I counted NINE hanging out around the feeding tree.  Many of them are very small, just babies, and we love to watch them hop through the yard precariously to the tree and eat from their little hands.

The birds are amazing to watch.  Yellow Finches, paired with Blue Birds and red Cardinals, just make my eyes happy!  We watch the tiny Titmouse as it hops down the tree, and then back up the tree the same way.  The red headed woodpecker we do believe it has gotten drunk of humming bird juice, as he wants to punch holes in our aluminum gutter.  He sounds like a machine gun going off in the middle of our peace and quiet! 
And yes, the humming birds.  They are so greedy for the sweet water we feed them that they cannot even move far from the feeder.  We watched as one would come drink for a while, then go rest in a tree branch while watching the feeder.  The moment a fellow hummingbird attempted to get a drink, he would buzz in and attack to shoo all others away.

If there’s one attribute that squirrels and birds have in common, I would say it is selfishness.  The squirrels will run each other and even the occasional rabbit away from the food.  They eat on separate sides of the tree, knowing that if they are seen, it’s time to scamper up the tree to safety, and wait until their foe isn’t watching to move back down to the food.  The birds will swoop in, get the food, and fly away, or as the Blue Jay’s do, fend off any others that dare eat!
This past weekend while we were watching the birds something happened that was amazing.  In the midst of good conversation with our friend Megan, a cardinal did something that stopped us midsentence!  He came down the tree, got a few seeds of food, and then carried it up the tree to give it to another cardinal – from one beak to the other.  He did it several times as we sat there just in awe of the love he was showing to the female cardinal.  It was fascinating because it was so unlike all the others we were watching.

I do believe God never shows you anything like that in life without using it to teach you a lesson. 
Days later I’m reading His word and they come back to mind – the greedy squirrels and birds, and the two cardinals.  We’re all much like the greedy ones, and sometimes – possibly rarely even – like the cardinals.  We look out for our own interest before anyone else’s.  Think about it.  When we cut the pizza, do we pull the piece with the most pepperoni to our plate?  Do we look for the best piece of fried chicken and put it on our plate before anyone else can take it?  Of course we do! 

But it doesn’t stop at food.  We fail to share our time.  Perhaps that’s one way in which I am the greediest.  I enjoy time with my hubby and alone time so much that I rarely spend it with anyone else.  We also fail to share God’s word.  Seriously, if you know it and don’t share it, that is sin, for James 4:17 says those “who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  We fail to give as much as we should of what we control.  Yet by keeping it, we only hurt ourselves as it begins to control how we live and pulls us away from God’s plan.
Jesus continually teaches us to “love one another as I have loved you”, and “love thy neighbor as thyself” and to “look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others”.  Galatians 5:22 gives the fruits of the Spirit, purposefully naming LOVE as the first. 

When Paul speaks of Timothy in Philippians 2:19-24 he compares him to the rest saying of them, “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.  Can that not be said of all of us? 
We need more Timothy’s in this world.  We need those who will show others love, instead of being self-centered.  We need those who will give not only of their possessions, but of their hearts and their time. 

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