There have been a few circumstances in my life lately that have left me feeling unsettled and uncertain of what tomorrow would hold. You know the little things like the health of a loved one, finances, aging – little things. So as I was praying early the other morning I was feeling the anxiety of these things when I looked out the window and observed a little bird sitting on the fence post. Jesus seemed to immediately remind me of His teaching to “consider the birds of the air”. So I considered this little guy for a few minutes and this is what I learned.
The thing that caught my attention right away was the fact that he was “nesting” – snuggled down with his legs buried underneath him. Most little birds are bouncing around anxious to find their next little morsel; not this guy. He appeared to be content.
I want to be content.
Paul said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4.11b-13). It’s striking that this passage ends with the oft quoted “I can do all things;” striking because doing all things is apparently found in the person who is “still”. I typically have this image of a “do aller” as someone who says to himself, “I CAN DO THIS. Yeah, yeah… I know it is in Christ who gives me strength…” but there is greater evidence of busyness and “manning up” than truly finding contentment in the work of Christ in himself. I wonder how much more spiritual force we would see manifested if we learned the secret of “nesting” – snuggled down with our legs buried underneath us.
The second thing I “considered” while watching my little winged friend was more typical. Though laying still his head was constantly darting around. Though content, he was aware. He was seeking.
I want to be a seeker.
“I have sought your face with all my heart” the Psalmist said (Psalm 119.58). Instead of bearing my anxiety, I “turn my eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I know you Lord, I long to know you more; “I believe, help me in my unbelief” (Mark 9.24). Lord, give me ears that are ever tuned to your voice. Let me be content; content but never satisfied.
The last thing I saw/heard from the bird was his never-ending singing. He was calling me to worship.
I want to be a worshipper.
Instead of dwelling in fear and anxiety worship allows me to have a renewed vision of who Jesus is; and when I see Him as He is – “high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6) “seated at the right hand of the Father” (Colossians 3) what challenge of the day is worthy to compete with the One to whom I “lift my head” (Psalms 24.7-10)?
“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? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 5.25-33).