I want you to thank God with me today that our Lord often reminds us in some of the most familiar portions of the Bible to look again and concentrate on the most basic issues of life.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount [Matt 6:26 ] Look at the birds of the air.
You will remember that this portion of his famous sermon has to do with the issue of anxiety / worry. The Savior wants us to be sure that we know our God and Father well enough to know that the experiences we have with the cares of this life will not pull us away from trusting in God’s grace.
Later in Matthew 13, Jesus equates the cares of this world, with what he calls the deceitfulness of riches. It is as if he speaks directly to the people of the United States of America in June of 2021 saying: “Remember that the accumulation of stuff does not drive away the tendency and the temptation to worry and doubt.“
Amazingly, one of the sure antidotes for that sort of worry is to look at birds. So I did, the other day. And I observed a couple of valuable lessons.
We have a back deck at our home and just outside the storm windows we hang bird feeders. Let me tell you two things I observed among the birds.
1. The food is right there for the eating. Many come and eat, but some of the birds will fly just to the branches of the tree a few feet away and yet will not come and eat. Recently I read again in Isaiah 55 where the prophet declares for God, Come, you who have no money, come, buy and eat. We don’t need any money, we can’t buy what God offers- and yet the Word of God is there, the mercy of God is there, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is there to receive forgiveness, righteousness before God and therefore peace with him. Yet sadly many will not come.
Why? Perhaps it is fear. A second lesson.
2. We have a small black cat that lives a couple of doors away, but comes to visit us many mornings. When the cat is on the porch, the birds will not feed. The cat could never catch the birds, but the birds do not believe that.
I am reminded of Bunyan’s splendid picture in the Pilgrim’s Progress:
“Pilgrim lifted up his eyes, and he saw before him a very stately palace, the name of which was Beautiful, and it stood by the highway. So I saw in my dream that he made haste, and went forward, that if possible he might get lodging there. But before he had gone far, he entered into a very narrow passage. As he went, he spied two lions in the way. Now, thought he, I see the dangers – ( but The lions were chained, and he did not see the chains.) Then he was afraid, and thought also he would go back; for he thought nothing but death was before him. But the Porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, perceiving that Christian stopped, as if he would go back, cried to him, saying, Is your strength so small?. Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for the discovery of those that have none: keep in the middle of the path, and no hurt shall come to you.“
You can find a copy of that well read book and discover the whole story. As Christian moves on, even with small faith- that faith is proven. God’s mercy has protected him, so that He may proceed to the Celestial City.
Today are you are struggling with the circumstances of this life? Jesus tells you to take a look at some birds. In their simple way of living, you will find peace and confidence in your Father and Savior again.
This is Gerald Malkus, I am pastor of Jehoash Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Catlett, and I am glad to serve as your pastor for this day.