For the Birds

Several sorts of birds visit our feeder. We have Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, Doves, Juncos, purple and gold Finches. Titmice, Nuthatches, Sparrows, Chickadees, and an occasional Blue jay. From time to time, since we are along a flyway, in migrating season we see other more exotic birds such as Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

Now, over the years I have been watching the peculiarities of each class of birds. Some, like the Juncos, are ground feeders who clean up the mess that the finches make. Others hang on the feeder, and others do both.

One noteworthy characteristic, in particular, is the way in which birds feed. The Finches will sit at the feeder continually eating as fast as they can consume the seed. The Titmice and Chickadees, in contrast, come, grab a seed and then take off for some safe place to hold it between their feet and peck away at it.

People are somewhat like that too. At church dinners, if there is serve-yourself table of food, some Chickadees fill their plates and take off for a chair and table at which to eat it. Some Finches, on the other hand, hang around the serving table continually eating until it’s time to go home.

These characteristics can carry over to Bible study characteristics as well. There are those who grab a nugget of truth, take it away somewhere and meditate on it. There are others who hang around the source of spiritual food anxious to consume as much as they can at any one feeding.

Each has its dangers; each its advantages. The first sort can become a recluse. While caught up in one truth, he may miss out on some other—something important. And he may not have adequate food on which to grow strong spiritually since he concentrates in an unbalanced way on one thing only. The second may hear much but not take the time to digest it. He can give you facts, but he has never learned how to incorporate them into daily life. There are dangers and advantages to both approaches. The answer, it seems to the possible problems, it seems, is to learn to study according to the excellencies of each approach, rather than to become bogged down by the one or the other.

What sort of bird are you when it comes to feeding on truth? Or haven’t you ever figured it out? Take a look at which limb it is on which you are usually perched when feeding.

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