Pastor’s Corner: “Bird Watching”
Matthew 6:25-26 (AMP) – The Cure for Anxiety – 25 “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?
Have ever woken up earlier than you wanted to? Sometimes the Lord wakes me up early in the morning to pray for someone or a situation. When I obey, I often go back to a restful sleep or I am refreshed and stay awake. But there are other times where I wake up because my mind is in a state of worry and anxiety. My thoughts are racing and I desperately want to get back to sleep because the anxiety is exhausting. Sound familiar?
I woke up this morning at 3:55am. I know this because I got up and looked at the clock. It started as a result of some uneasy thoughts and anxiety. I knew this was the enemy trying to stir things up and I was a little annoyed. But through a time of prayer and listening it turned into a time of relief and rest. What was the turning point? When I lifted up my worry to the Lord and then listened, I heard birds chirping in the background. My first thought was why are the birds chirping at this hour? Don’t they know it’s the middle of the night!
Scientists call this early morning bird singing the dawn chorus, which is most noticeable in spring when birds are migrating or mating. The name dawn chorus sounds charming except when you’re trying to sleep in the middle of an anxiety attack. And, yet, maybe this is the point: singing in the middle of a storm, reaping during a time of scarcity, staying on mission. Maybe the birds have something to teach us after all. Then I realized that Jesus was answering me through the birds and I was reminded of Matthew 6:26-26. The line that resonated with me was, “Are you not worth much more than they?” Recognizing His great love for me again turned my worry into something very small. And I was able to fall back into a restful sleep. Matthew 6:27 (NLT) – Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Some Perspective: Some translations say look at, consider or observe the birds. The Greek word means to look intently. In other words, we’re to reflect on them, really think about how they go about their lives, and then listen to what Jesus is telling us about our own, and about our heavenly Father’s provision. We notice from Jesus’ teaching that the birds don’t sow, reap, or store, which have to do with our ability to plan. The point is, we humans have the faculties to plan, save, invest, freeze the ground beef until we need it in a few weeks. The birds cannot do this! They live day to day, meal to meal, worm to worm. And still they are fed. Still, they are nourished. Still they have enough for their chicks.
How can this be? Jesus quickly answers. Because we have a heavenly Father who feeds them. And that heavenly Father isn’t just the Father of the birds; He is your heavenly Father. And how much more are you worth to Him than the birds? The answer is clear: infinitely more.
I like what Martin Luther said: “Pray and let God worry.” That is really the secret. Philippians 4:6–7 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” The next time you are gripped by fear and worry or the next time you start thinking, “What if this happens? What if that happens?” Remember the birds, look to Jesus and let Him give you His peace!
In His Grace,