My dog Jane loves to watch birds—birds in flight, birds on the ground, even airplanes make her stop in her tracks and look up. So back in February I decided to buy a bird feeder to put on the window nearest her crate so that she has some entertainment while I am at work all day. And while it did give her something to watch, I think I’m learning more from the bird feeder than Jane.
It really hit me one day as I was standing in Tractor Supply, trying to decide what type of bird food to buy. I was reading nutritional labels and trying to decide if I wanted the “Backyard Medley” or the “Songbird Variety” when the thought occurred to me that the birds I’m feeding have no idea how much goes into their breakfast. They don’t know that I have to empty the trays and wash them, they don’t realize that I’m weighing the cost of different varieties of birdseed and trying to decide how long seven pounds of it will last.
I realized that day something that had been slowly dawning on me as I’d watched the birds over the last few months. In some small way, this simple action of feeding the birds meant that I was making Matthew 6:27 a reality in my life. Jesus says to “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
This verse has always been one that I try to remember in seasons where I’m waiting for the Lord’s provision. My students can tell you how I love to consider the birds (especially the hawks), but filling my bird feeder each week has given me fresh perspective. When I put seeds out on my window for the birds, the Lord is providing for the birds of the air through me. This idea made me think about how many other people in my life have served as God’s provision to me—whether by meeting my physical needs or just by encouraging me in my walk of faith. I can’t provide for everyone—I can’t even feed all the birds in Kennesaw—but I can be faithful to buy seeds and put them out on the windowsill, and I can be grateful for the people who have done the same for me over the years.
Here’s the little poem that came from that realization:
On Sundays I clean the bird feeder,
and this, too, is worship.
The cardinals in the holly
and the finches in the pine
never see the practicalities of this provision—
they only know
there is food
when they need it.
But as I empty the trays
and wash them,
I think of you—
the many bird feeders of my heart.
You have been to me
the hand of providence made visible,
reaching from behind the glass
to leave seeds of kindness
when I needed them most.
And this, too, is worship.