Motivated By A Bird

June 19, 2012
by Robert Barlow

It's not often that I just sit and do nothing. I would say that that is probably a good way to describe most of us. We like to do things, accomplish much, and have the pleasure of getting things done. It could be something as simple as washing a few dishes, picking up after a party, or getting out and cutting the grass. It could even be something as mundane as washing the dirt off the car or watering the tomato plants. I'm not sure if it's the sense of satisfaction or just the pleasure of being useful.

This spring, I sat watching a robin building a nest. It was fascinating to see all that went in to forming the foundation so that it would stay in place, and then building on to it with only her beak and feet.

Two things happened that day. First, I learned by observation — not learning how I could do the same thing in building a nest, but learning how she accomplished her task. The second thing that happened was that it motivated me to get up off the chair, go and get something done, and then return to see how much more she had done. It was almost as if she created some motivation in me because of what some other industrious creature was doing.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

This verse came to mind at first, and that made me think of a second verse.

Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. (NIV)

Within each one of us are gifts and abilities that God wishes for us to use and share, first with the community of faith, and also with anyone else who could use a helping hand. The interesting difference that I see in this verse is that it is encouraging the accomplishment of something for someone else. It is not centred in what we do for ourselves. No, I can't help the robin build her nest. But I can help someone cut their grass or carry their groceries, even wash their car, or just go and pray with someone. As I watch someone else helping someone, someone watches me helping someone, and that motivates another and another and another to do the same. Maybe that is how mission work started!

And what's stopping me and you from doing all those good deeds?

Prayer: Father, stir up within us the desire to work for You with the strength, ability, and desire that You create within us, for the good of Your kingdom and Your people. Amen.

About the author:

Robert Barlow <barlowrw@yahoo.com>
Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada

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