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 much better than they? (Matthew 6:26)
This weekend I refilled the bird feeder we keep in our backyard. That last time I filled it was more than a month ago. It seems strange that the birds do not come around as often as they did in the spring. Perhaps the late August heat saps their energy so that it is too much effort to hang on a feeder and peck at the seeds inside. Perhaps the feeder would be more inviting if I put up a birdbath nearby. A nice cool bath might make them hungry.
As I filled the feeder, I thought, “These ungrateful birds! Here I drag out this 40-pound bag of seed in the heat of the day to make sure they won’t go hungry, and they don’t even bother to come around and give me the pleasure of watching them feast! That’s gratitude for you!”
Last year I mentioned to my mother-in-law that I had seen a hummingbird flying around some flowers my wife keeps out back. I told her I enjoyed watching hummingbirds, so one afternoon, she and my wife went out shopping, and my mother-in-law returned with a hummingbird feeder. She showed me how to cook up the “nectar,” and we hung the feeder in the small live oak we have out back. Not a single hummingbird came to suck on the fake flowers. In fact, I have not seen any more hummingbirds around my wife’s real flowers. This year we tried it again and never got a single visitor. I wonder if my dogs are scaring the birds away?
As I mused on this while filling the bird feeder with fresh seed, I remembered what Jesus said about how the Father cares for birds. They do not sow or reap, yet the Father feeds them. He does such a great job of feeding them that apparently, the birds do fine without my feeder or me. That’s humbling!
You may know that I work for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). Right now, ICR is in the middle of building the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History. The generosity of our donors funds the $30-million plus project. God, working through His people, has provided the funds when they are needed and in the exact amount that is needed. Dr. Henry M. Morris III, our CEO, determined that the project will be completed without debt. So far, God has proven faithful, and we trust He will continue to be faithful.
The Discovery Center needs a little under $5-million to finish the project and open in the spring of 2019. Dr. Henry and I were talking about this last week, and Jesus’ words came to mind. God provides for His birds, and He will provide for us too. Dr. Henry told me that he has put out a lot of effort “fundraising,” but the funds have consistently come from sources he did not seek – kind of like me putting seed in the bird feeder but the birds are getting fed elsewhere. It reminded me that even though God provides for the birds, the birds still have to search and find their food. They do not sit in the tree with their beaks open to the sky expecting God to drop food into their mouths. That is a lesson for us. God does provide for us, but He expects us to do our part too.
By the way, the birds are not ungrateful. They show their gratitude to God by being exactly what God created them to be. We can show our gratitude to God in the same way. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2)