One of the problems with having several large trees on your property is that they can encroach upon your house and potentially create problems with their root structure. Such was the case with three trees in my yard that we had to remove.
Upon felling these spruce trees, we found a beautiful and almost perfect bird’s nest. Perhaps it was from a swallow or red robin. As I thought about how masterfully this nest was constructed I considered the number of times in Scripture nests or birds were used as illustrations.
Like the prophets and poets of the Old Testament, Jesus used birds to illustrate His teachings. He described the care He desired to provide by comparing it to the protection given by the wings of a hen over her brood (Mt. 23:37). He illustrated the life of a disciple void of earthly comfort by contrasting it with that of the bird who has a nest (Mt. 8:20). B. K. Waltke in his book, Birds, noted that the bushes in the area around Capernaum where He taught this lesson “are stuffed full of bird’s nests.”
Scripture gives hope to those of us who are fortunate enough to take a caring moment to focus on God’s creation:
If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.
— Deuteronomy 22:6–7 NKJV
Our Lord tells us that He cares for us. Our worries, frets, decisions, temptations, fears, and frustrations are known to our Heavenly Father. Reflect upon Christ’s words:
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
— Matthew 6:26–34 NKJV
Sometimes it seems that only God cares for the sparrows. Think about it. They can be a nuisance. They poop on our outdoor furniture and windows. They often make a lot of noise early in the morning when you’re trying to sleep. Birds of prey, coyotes, cats, and other critters seem to think of them as good meals. Some folks complain about how they multiply, considering them pests. Yet, Jesus declared, “Not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will” (Matthew 10:29).
We may not esteem the little sparrow, but the Son of God used it to illustrate our Heavenly Father’s watchful care: “You are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31; Luke 12:7).
Next time you devalue your worth or the worth of others think about the little sparrows. Both the sparrows and every human being has value. They both can create messes, make mistakes, and may become pests, but in God’s kingdom they have great value.
How does this expression from the American Way speak to your heart? “The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but rather what he becomes by it.” Little things matter.
What are the acts of kindness you could do today that might bring some cheer to another person?
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Men’s Ministry Catalyst produces a newsletter (The Connection) for pastors and church leaders. Would you take a minute to review our latest letter and send it to some of your church leaders? Thank you.
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Jim Grassi, D. Min.