One Sunday afternoon last October, a lady came to the door, trying to get rid of a lost cockatiel, which had lit on her shoulder as she walked along. While we put a free "Found" ad in the local paper, we improvised a cage out of a large plastic milk crate, setting it upside down on the floor with newspapers under it. On Thursday, a lady called, and identified her bird that had been lost the previous Saturday. She said that it would say "You dirty bird!" We should have realized that it was not her bird, though we noticed that it never talked to us, but only whistled all day long, and did not hop onto her husband's hand as he expected. But, in our desire to get rid of it, we chalked these down to nervousness on the bird's part.
The next day, we got a call from a broken-hearted little boy whose cockatiel had also flown out the window on the previous Saturday. "Did he whistle all day long?" he asked.
The next day, I woke up feeling terrible about this mix-up, and praying about what we should do. By then, those people probably knew that this cockatiel was not their "Shorty", but they weren't likely to look at any more ads. What good could God bring out of this situation? What was He trying to tell me? It came to mind how angry Jonah was, after he had preached to the Ninevites and they had repented, and were not destroyed as he had hoped. Then God quickly raised up a vine to give him shade, and Jonah was angry again when a worm killed it the next day.
Jonah 4:10-11 – But the Lord said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
If I was so concerned about a lost cockatiel getting into the wrong hands, think how much more concerned God is about the thousands of spiritually lost people in my city who don't know Him, and are falling into the wrong hands. He cares about them much more than I do!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for alerting us in powerful ways about the great love You have for the people in this world. Equip us to share with them the good news of Jesus' forgiveness and a relationship with You. Amen.