Look at the Birds
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
This Monday, I came into work a few minutes late, driving gingerly down rain-soaked roads. I couldn’t help but wonder what a miserable morning commute Chattanooga must be experiencing. The downpour was dropping water by the bucketful and I was dreading the short walk from my car to the church door. I thought, “Will I be working with soaked socks today?”.
I pulled into a parking spot behind the front lawn at the church only to discover I was quite tardy. Many were already busy at work at our church. I’m not talking about seeing cars in the parking lot (though there were a few). Rather, I’m speaking of a group of American Robins who had decided to call the lawn of CPC their temporary dining room.
I paused, engine idling, as I put my sedan into park. I began counting the birds I could see flitting across the lawn from one patch of grass to another, dodging puddles. I reached thirty, lost count, then started counting again. This was a sight I hadn’t seen before, or perhaps have simply been too busy to notice. Five inches of rain in twenty-four hours, a royal pain to most of us, had created a smorgasbord for a flock of birds. I suppose, as our lawn filled with water, a mass exodus of critters and worms had fled their homes into the waiting mouths of hungry thrushes. While pondering this from the dry haven of my car, my field of vision began to blur. The multiplying raindrops on my windshield were merging into one watery sheet. With one flick of the finger, I engaged the wipers.
Like the arms of a massive blue scarecrow, my windshield wipers waved dramatically, and something like three dozen startled birds took flight to find shelter in the trees east of our parking lot. I grabbed my things and put my hood up for the short walk inside. It took the birds little time to return to their revelry on the lawn.
It is a strange command we receive in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells us, in the simplest of terms, to “look at the birds”. What does He mean? The context tells us that He’s talking about our frequent anxieties over money (v. 24), food (v. 26), and clothing (v. 28). Church people, it seems, haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years. This command, as with other commands in God’s Word, is here for our good. God tells us to look at the birds because He loves us. There’s something about looking at birds that should remind us of His care and free us from anxiety.
Here, in the midst of our collective white-knuckled commute, I found our avian friends happy as clams. As far as I could tell, there was no planning commission, no organized effort, and no strategic flowchart. Yet, here were three dozen birds feasting on our front lawn. Jesus invites us to be reminded that God feeds faithfully, perfectly, providentially. His love extends to all His creation, but He loves you so much more than the birds.