We have just bought a country retreat. Maybe you or your parents have reached that stage of life and are doing something similar. Anyway, my husband Peter and I just spent eight days at our new place at a delightful place called Moonlight Flat, very close to Castlemaine in Victoria.
I love birds. They amaze me. So many different sorts. Colours. Sizes. My Australian bird book lists close to 1000 different birds.
In this beautiful bush location, I spotted birds I had never seen before. The spotted pardalote. Literally less than a metre or so from me as I looked down from the veranda at this tiny bird in the garden. It would be the size of your fist (about 9cm). The painted honeyeater, looking as if it has literally slipped into a tin of yellow paint. The eastern spinebill. Look at that glorious caramel chest. Then there were the crimson rosellas, the lorikeets, cockatoos, starlings, galahs, the fairy-wrens, parrots, magpies, kookaburras and others I couldn’t quite see to know what they were.
I have ordered a beginner pair of bird watching binoculars!
In this beautiful bush location, I spotted birds I had never seen before.
And that is not to mention the kangaroos that visit our backyard every morning and dusk. The rabbits I could do without. Apparently, there are wombats. And maybe an echidna or two. Lots of ants. Rats in the ceiling.
Look at what Jesus tell us in Matthew 6: 25-28.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
All these birds were constantly enjoying the flowers, the leaves, pecking in the scrubby grass, singing praises to each other and to God. They lived within their own kind and surrounding each other, entirely in harmony. And the colour, the beauty, the variety, in this tiny patch. How can one not wonder at the grandeur of God’s extraordinary creation?
They aren’t worrying about where the next mouthful of food will come from. It will just be there.
Each of these bird types is unique and some are unique to particular regions within Australia. Then think about other birds in other countries. The toucan – wow, it looks exactly like the Fruit Loops packet. How is that possible?
God has made them for his enjoyment and for ours. But the point of the Matthew passage is that these birds live in the moment. And they do. They aren’t worrying about where the next mouthful of food will come from. It will just be there.
How do we surrender ourselves to God? Jesus is right. We know that. Worrying doesn’t add a single hour to my life, to your life. It is a wasted emotion.
There are days I don’t feel like I am very productive and I just hanker for the quiet life.
And yet there feels like a lot to worry about. When I read the news headline last weekend of Peter Dutton warning that Australia should be readying itself for war, I felt sick with fear. Like many of us, I feel quite concerned about Russia, about our close proximity to China. I still haven’t got my mojo back post-Covid. Well, it isn’t post-Covid, is it? It is more post-lockdowns as Covid is still there looming all the time. My son and his wife contracted it just last week. There are days I don’t feel like I am very productive and I just hanker for the quiet life.
Jesus calls on us to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness … and reminds us that each day has enough trouble of its own. Good point!
And then in Romans 8, Paul offers up two remarkable verses in the Bible:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Whatever is happening in your life, no matter how grim things might seem at times, whatever is happening in the wider world, awful and scary as that is, nothing … at all … in the present or the future – death or life … anything – will be able to separate you, me, us from God’s love that is in Christ.