For The Birds

                               By Phil Scovell

          This weekend, I wasn't feeling too well physically.   It was sort
     of like the stomach flue or something.  Anyhow, I normally seem to get
     discouraged pretty easily  whenever I get sick.  Some of it is related
     to the dozen eye  operations I had 40 plus years ago because I used to
     wake up  sick as a dog  and puking my  guts up after  every operation.
     So, there's some healing there that needs to  be done but fortunately,
     I've already  received a great deal of healing  in that area but there
     is more work to be done.

          Anyhow, as the day wore on, I got to feeling better.  I had  been
     thinking about what I was going to  teach on this morning, Sunday, but
     somehow, and for some reason, I felt my spirit telling me to switch to
     another  topic and that was  about birds.  I  remember at the moment I
     felt the change, I  was walking near the bird cage  where Chester, our
     African  Gray Parrot  lives, and  I heard  him chattering  and playing
     around.  Parrots of all kinds love  to play.  They, unlike people like
     me, have no problem keeping themselves occupied in one way or another.
     So, as I said,  I was walking by his  cage and his chattering made  me
     stop and think about him and other birds.

          When I was a kid, I had a dog named Corky.  I've talked about him
     before in other articles and testimonies.  He was a rat  terrier and I
     spent a lot of time  with him.  I used to always say to him, "Corky, I
     wish I was a dog."  One day my mother heard me say  that and she asked
     why I was saying  it.  "Because," I replied, "dogs never have to go to
     school."   I have  a feeling  there was  a lot  more behind my  secret
     confession but I'll save that for another time.

          I was  reminded of this  when walking passed Chester  and hearing
     him playing in his cage.   I sort of thought the same thing  as when I
     was a child about being a dog but this time, instead of wishing to  be
     a dog, I  thought of being  a bird in God's  animal kingdom.   I heard
     myself saying in my  thoughts, "Lord, why are birds so happy?"   I was
     thinking, why do birds sing, those that are song birds I mean, and why
     do they chatter and play around and seemed to always be  having a good

          Several  years ago,  I  watched a  two hour  program  on a  local
     educational channel which was on birds.  They  claimed that there were
     over 600  billion birds  on the  planet, sounds  low to  me, and  2800
     different species.

          Most of  us probably never pay a whole  lot of attention to birds
     but I  was thinking, this weekend,  what it must  be like for  all the
     birds  in the  world  to awaken  each  morning and  start singing  and
     chattering to the Lord.   Millions of birds, billions, singing  and to
     whom are they singing?   Well, they are for our  enjoyment, that's for
     sure, but what do you bet that God hears them, every one, more than we
     personally bother taking notice.

          In the late  seventies, we lived in  western Colorado.  I  was an
     assistant pastor in a small Baptist church at the time.  We lived in a
     brand new house  and had  one child that  was a  little less than  two
     years old at the time.

          One morning, about 5:30 or 6 o'clock, in April, I put on my coat,
     after making some  coffee, and carried my  cup out on the  patio.  the
     meadowlark has been  just about  my most favorite  song bird for  many
     years.   We lived in a very large valley  and at the edge of town.  In
     fact, over our back fence you were considered out of the town proper.

          That chilly  mountain morning, as  I stood and  prayed, I had  to
     stop to admire  the thousands of meadowlarks  I could hear  all across
     the valley.  One came within about 75 feet, or less, of the patio  and
     perched on top  of a  nearby telephone pole.   He sang  so loudly,  in
     unison with all  the others,  you almost had  to cover  your ears.   I
     tried singling each  songbird out so I  could count all those  I heard
     that morning.  It  was impossible.  I've never heard  anything like it
     before or since.

          As I poured out  the small amount of coffee I had  left in my cup
     on the ground  and pushed back the  patio door, I realized  that those
     birds new more about praying and praising God than I did.

          This weekend, when I asked the  Lord why birds were so happy,  He
     instantly said, "Because they know me."  Quickly on the heels  of that
     knowledge, I realized that birds know him as their Creator and so they
     are happy.  Additionally, they know Him as their Provider.  You see, I
     know these things myself, theologically  speaking, but the birds  know
     it from experience.  More than anything in my life, I want to know God
     as  that which He has created  but to do that,  you have to experience
     it.  How do you  experience God's nature?  I personally believe  it is
     accomplished through intimate prayer.

          Have  you ever seen  a bird up  on a telephone  wire muttering to
     himself and saying, "What a lousy morning this is.  The whole day will
     probably  be as lousy as  yesterday.  That's the way  life is for me,"
     you hear him say, "nothing ever goes right for me.  I  think," he says
     a little louder  and with a little more  forcefulness, "I'll just cash
     it all in right here and now.  I'm going to do a  swan dive, a perfect
     header, right  off this  wire into the  ground.   I'll snap  my little
     beak, my neck will break, and I'll be dead.  I'm sick of life."

          I hear  little sparrows all the time around  our house.  No, they
     aren't very pretty birds and they can't carry a tune in a basket.  All
     they do  is chatter  together.   I've noticed  though,  when I  listen
     closely to  their sounds, they seem  to be happy.   I bet, I  just bet
     you, that they  are chattering  about the  Lord and  His goodness  and
     that's  why they sound  happy.  Of  course, I could be  wrong and they
     could be belly achers and complainers like we are but somehow  I doubt

          "Oh," you  say, "birds  don't have anything  to worry  about like
     me."  Oh, really.  What about  their predators?  Cats, squirrels, high
     voltage power  lines, hunters, kids  with bee bee rifles  just itching
     for a kill, and  a whole host of  others that would love to  have them
     for supper?

          I've  never seen a  bird sitting up  on my house  saying, "I hate
     life.   Life just isn't worth  living.  It ain't  rained in days.  The
     worms have gone so deep, I couldn't pull one out of the ground with  a
     pile driver.  My  stomach hurts I haven't eaten for so long.  Not only
     that, every single  freaking bird feeder in the  neighborhood has been
     picked bone dry by them crazy  squirrels.  I wonder why God  made them
     dumb things  any way.   All they do  is steal my  food.  Oh,  my belly
     hurts.  God  must not even  care about me.   I'm so weak, I  can't fly
     another inch," and  with that, his little legs give out, he rolls down
     the roof, off the edge, and is dead before he hits the ground; dead of
     a broken heart.

          Why do you suppose  we don't hear  birds talking and acting  like
     that?  I'll tell you why.

     Matthew 10:29-31
     29  Are not two  sparrows sold for a farthing?  and one of them  shall
     not fall on the ground without your Father.
     30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
     31  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

          The word for  "value" is a rather  unusual word.  One  meaning is
     that of a  boat, a ship really,  filled with grains, gold  and silver,
     and many  other such goods which will be sold in a land far away.  The
     returning  sailors  will be  rich  men  because  they will  have  sold
     everything in the  ship to those who  have no such provisions.   Plus,
     they  will fill the same ship  with new things from  the far away land
     which they  will sell  when they get  home and  make even  more money.
     This describes the  Greek meaning of  the word for "value"  that Jesus
     used  to describe how  much he values  us.  In  short, the sailors are
     blessed and experience  provision coming and going.  Sound like God to

          Further more,  He makes a  comparison.  He  reminded us  that the
     Father  is aware  of ever  single  sparrow that  falls to  the ground.
     Sparrows, in those days, were worthless and were sold for a tenth of a
     penny or a tenth of a day's wages.  Oh, so you are thinking that isn't
     very much value?  Remove all the birds in one second of time from  our
     planet  and see what effect it has on  our ecosystem.  In a week, this
     planet would be in big trouble if god removed all his  precious little
     birds.   Einstein,  reported to  be  the smartest  scientist who  ever
     lived, supposedly said, "Watch the bees.  When they die, we have about
     four years  left."   He apparently knew  the value  of bees.   Do you?
     with the bees,  we will soon  die because  of the absolute  dependency
     that mankind has on the pollinatazation  of plants by bees.  It  isn't
     much different  when considering the birds.  Jesus says, you are worth
     more to Him than the sparrows.  In fact, he says, He knows exactly the
     number of  the hairs on  your head.   Admittedly this  is considerably
     fewer for some  of us but regardless,  God not only knows  how many we
     have, He chooses to keep track of them.  Try and figure that one out.

          So, why did God make the birds?  Because they know Him as Creator
     and Provider.   I wonder if you  do.  I know I  do theologically but I
     don't experientially.  I  want to experience the truth that  the birds
     know so I  can sing and praise  God with them every morning.   I, too,
     want to  be as happy  as they are because  they know who  they are and
     they know who their Creator is.   How about you?  Do you  know who God
     is?  More importantly, do you understand who He knows you to be?

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado
     Mountain Time Zone

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