Food for Thought

(Written by Rose Jeffrey)

Matthew 6: 26 “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?”

One of the simplest delights of my day is to watch as many birds both big and small come to have breakfast on the bird feeder in my garden.  My son-in-law made this special piece of apparatus out of an old cast iron tractor seat, which rests in pride of place on a steel pole, one and a half metres above the ground.  It is a peculiar sight and a conversation starter as to the purpose it might serve.  But the birds know exactly why it’s there!  Each morning I tear up a couple of slices of bread (multi-grain of course) and place them on the old tractor seat, and then come inside to observe the birds as they fly in. Often, I open the blinds to find an eager few, waiting with great anticipation: magpies, sparrows and Indian Mynas.

Indian Mynas”, I hear you groan! Most people think they are a nuisance; an unwanted pest and perhaps this is true.  But as I watch them taking their turn at the feast amongst the bigger magpies and the smaller sparrows, I can’t help but feel sorry for them.  Not one of them chose to be an Indian Myna.  Yet this is their lot in life, and they too need to eat.  (And I don’t get to choose who comes to breakfast!) The same God who created the beauty of a swan, the uniqueness of a pelican, the majestic eagle and the magnificent albatross also created Indian Mynas, and so I shall go right on providing breakfast for them too. (See Genesis 1:21)

My Dachshund, Jonte, has also become very familiar with this daily routine.  He bides his time and then sits at the door – waiting for me to let him out so that he can clean up after the birds, sniffing out each morsel and crumb that has been dropped onto the ground below. As I watched the other day, it got me thinking:  How much am I ‘feasting’ on the spiritual food that my heavenly Father provides for me?  Am I satisfied with only the crumbs?  How well balanced is my spiritual diet?  Do I need to do a calorie count and perhaps undertake an inventory, to ensure my intake is sufficient to maintain a healthy spirit?  What do I choose to fill up on, listen to, read and watch on TV?  Are there elements of junk food creeping into my spiritual diet?  A quick fix; fast food that momentarily satisfies, but leaves me hungry a short time later?

When we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread”, (Matthew 6:11) I believe that God, who is the ultimate provider of good things indeed will honour that prayer, both in a physical and spiritual way, but we have a role to play in the degustation of the food He provides. He will not force-feed us! Am I, like the birds waiting with great anticipation to what God has planned to feed me, straight from His hand? I enjoy Christian books, reading another’s perspective on Scripture and the application thereof. And I look forward to hearing the wonderful messages brought to us each Sunday by our Pastors.  And then there are awesome podcasts, seminars and Christian talk-back radio programs. But none of these should ever be a dietary substitute, for reading God’s Word for myself or spending time in conversation with the Author.

It is said that “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”  And “A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel.” To meditate on God’s Word and to pray, is a daily choice that only we can make for ourselves.  Even although I try, really try, I don’t always get the balance right.  But I know that God understands the complexities of life, the challenges that come out of left field, and that some days words will fail us, and the ability and the motivation to read His Word may also escape us.  But I believe, even and perhaps especially in these times, we can sidle up beside Him, lean in close to His chest and be nourished, with exactly what is needed in that moment. (Deuteronomy 33:12) So…. what’s on the menu for today?

PRAYER: Thank you God for strengthening us, when we are weak.  Thank you, Jesus, for deciphering our groans, and for interceding on our behalf before the Father.  Thank you Holy Spirit that You live within us; and that as we choose to draw near to You, You will draw near to us, providing us with all that is needed to satisfy the hunger pangs of our souls, as we continue to exercise our faith.  AMEN.

SONG: The Sowers Song by Andrew Peterson