I’ve never been much of a fan of house sparrows. Those greedy scamps will empty a quart of seed from my bird feeder in one day. That’s why this morning, I am sitting and staring at the vacant feeder in my backyard and wondering whether I should make the effort to fill it. That idea seems to be a distraction from my focus on listening for God.
If I don’t fill it — so-help-me– a familiar sparrow will land nearby and approach within two feet of me to remind me. She simply appears and hops around closer than any wild bird has a right to do. I have to get up and fill the feeder.
Quick story. Two goldfish swimming in their glass bowl stop and face each other with their pectoral fins fluttering. One says to the other, “If there’s no God who feeds us each morning?”
Which reminds me: Watching and listening for God is how I pray in the mornings. I am watching to see if God sends me a message. I’m listening and hoping that I will recognize His Voice when I hear it.
A dozen or so sparrows arrive at the feeder, now brimming with seed. One of them drops down about twenty feet from me on the freshly mowed lawn. It looks something like a sparrow, the brownish color and all, but its body is chunkier with thin dark streaks at its sides and belly. It squats there in the open green grass, fluttering its wings and issuing a soft, melodic twitter. It opens its beak wide, begging. Then, from the apple tree close by a female sparrow flies down and begins feeding it.
I’m clearing my throat here. “Ahem!” Let’s get this unsavory business out of the way: adult passerines regurgitate their partially digested food from their crops into the gaping beaks of their nestlings –or, in this case, their fledgling, which isn’t a sparrow at all but a kind of blackbird. The mother sparrow doesn’t care. Its fledgling is hungry and so she coughs up stuff and feeds it. She’ll never know it’s adopted.
The little female house sparrow is raising a cowbird, that parasitical species which gets away with not having to build its own nest or raise its own offspring. When a female cowbird is ready to lay an egg it searches for an unattended nest of just about any common bird and quickly lays an egg in the nest of the host species.
House sparrows don’t seem to mind. Just another beak to feed. I am watching this diminutive sparrow as she empties fresh gruel into the gaping beak of a fledgling three times her size.
So, what has listening for God revealed to me this morning? It could simply be this: Take care of it! What is it? “It” is whatever situation is calling out to you today in the name of Christ Jesus. ! If someone needs you for a moment or a lifetime, take care of it. If God gives you someone hungry or thirsty, just take care of it. Even if you have to feed its hunger from your want. You might even have to adopt it.