Matthew 6:26 (Amplified)
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?
Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
This morning Leighton, my nine-month-old, and I came out to the front porch for coffee. Well, I came for coffee and she came for sitting on a blanket watching Dixie, our chocolate lab. My other daughters are still sleeping on this summer morning.
As I sit in my chair, looking up into the blue sky with its wispy clouds, my mind begins to run like a ticker tape over worries and concerns about a certain area of my life. I know. I should not worry. Strong, faith-filled Christians never worry or rehearse their concerns. Ahem…Cough…Choke.
As I was digging through my pile of worry rubble, His whisper to my heart said, they neither spin nor toil. Instantly I knew that was me. Spinning and toiling. And so I began flipping through Matthew until I found the right chapter. Jesus is speaking and encouraging His listeners not to worry. He reminds them how the wildflowers neither spin nor toil and yet no one is arrayed in such beauty. As I read from the beginning of the chapter my heart tripped over the words free and unfettered. The birds God created fly and flit, dig for worms, sing their songs, build their nests and care for their baby birds carelessly. They are unfettered. They are free to just be, well, birdy! So I pause for just a few moments and close my eyes. Listen to them chirping and calling out to each other. God’s creation reminding me I am also His created.
Technology can be awesome. With a few taps I read over the verse above in different translations and as I reach the Amplified my heart absorbs the light of truth I need this morning: “…they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them.” And yet.
See, the birds are not pushing the right God-buttons. They are not pulling the right God-levers. They are not spinning and toiling, wearing themselves out mentally, emotionally and physically trying to be the birdiest birds they can be in hopes of being even better birds and having perfect bird lives. Jesus says they neither sow nor reap and yet God still keeps feeding them! They are not earning God’s provision and help and care! They are not trying to live in cahoots with God, you know, helping and assisting in controlling the universe (or their small part) out of fear. Yes, fear. And a lack of real trust. So often these kind of statements can feel condemning and discouraging. I totally get that. Been there, no doubt. Sure, tell me how I need to trust God. But tell me how if the truth is I don’t! What if learning to trust Him, rely on and rest in Him, requires a shift deep in our understanding of why God wants to help us and meet our needs?
Here is my heart this morning…the encouragment I received from the bird songs and words Jesus spoke to a crowd so long ago but yet speak to my front-porch life today:
God does not care for the birds, enabling them to live free and unfettered, as the result of their deserving bird qualities. God cares for them, loves and does His best for them, as a result of His own God qualities.
You know how we turn our cares over to Him? You know how we begin to live unfettered lives, careless in His care? How we receive what we need to grow and change and thrive? By learning to trust that even though we don’t deserve His help, His love, His provision, God will work in us and for us because of His goodness. His love. Because that is Who He is.
See, our spinning and toiling will never stop when hope for His help is rooted in our own merit. The truth is I can’t really trust in God’s goodness and willingness to work in my life if I believe I haven’t earned it. And I could never, ever earn it. But if my heart grabs a hold of this idea that God wants to care for me and help me because of His goodness, then I can learn to trust Him. I can learn, step by step and day by day, to cease toiling and spinning in unbelief. My life can become a response to the only one Who is truly good and able…Jesus. I can learn to let my life and will bend to His not because I have it all together, but because He holds me together. I can learn to let trust grow in my heart for this Creator-God Who loves me so richly, so freely, that I allow Him to take me, break me, re-make me as needed. Chains can break. Weight of worry can be lifted.
I can fly unfettered. Sing my own bird songs.