I keep seeing this sign, “DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS”. It’s at the park, the grocery store parking lot, outdoor restaurants, and a host of other public places. It was popping up so much, it became obvious God wanted me to learn something from it.
You’ve seen what happens when people feed birds – it’s chaos. And it’s gross. They bother us with their germs; flocking in places they shouldn’t be; fighting with one another; and making serious messes. I was recently eating at an outdoor restaurant with a friend, when the birds started eating crumbs off the other tables. Then they moved to the outdoor trash can where there were bowls of soup and large plates of food sitting out. Chaos ensued. Multiple birds started eating the scraps and knocking over dishes in the process. More birds came flying over to eat what was dropped on the ground. It was nasty.
Then it hit me. This is what happens when we get our needs met from unnatural places and means. We tend to look for food, shelter, and pleasure in places that God never intended. And it gets messy. We can make life miserable for those around us as well. If we, too, could just obey that command to not worry. Seems so simple, doesn’t it? I mean, the God who created the universe and every living thing around us said we don’t have to worry.
He says in Matthew, “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.” (Matthew 6:26)
I know some of these birds. They aren’t annoying like the pigeons at the restaurant. They live down the street from me, near a park, and they love to flock on one particular streetlight.
There’s dozens of street lights to choose from, but they like this one for whatever reason. I saw them there twice and thought it was a fluke, but I started watching for them every week when I came home from the store.
They didn’t disappoint.
I would sit at the light, waiting for my turn, and think random things:
Why do they like this light more than the others?
Who is their leader?
What kind of birds are these?
Are they watching me?
It turned into a sweet moment with God every week. I would come home from the store, and drive down the street in anticipation. And there they would be, hanging out on their favorite street light.
So now when I see birds, I am reminded not to worry. I can be like the disgusting pigeons scrambling over scraps that aren’t good for me, or I can be like the peaceful birds hanging out on the street light waiting and trusting for God to provide.
Here is the rest of the verse from Matthew about what we are to learn from the birds…
“Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:26b-27)
Don’t you just love it when Jesus asks rhetorical questions?! Of course we are more valuable than birds. And no one has ever made a situation better or easier by worrying. Then Jesus gives us what to do instead…
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
Isn’t that the truth?! Trouble is going to happen, and worrying about it only makes it worse. Whatever has you worrying today, remember the birds. Write those worries on a piece of paper if you need to, wad them up and let them fly! Seek God’s kingdom, his goodness, and His Word, and trust He will provide.
Oh, and DON’T FEED THE BIRDS!