Look At The Birds Of The Air
Are you worried about your needs, wondering how you'll meet your business expenses, or concerned that you won't be able to meet all your business obligations?Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Which of you by worrying can add a cubit to his stature?" - Matthew 6:26
According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, man's foundational needs are physiological. These needs--such as food, drink, and clothing--are the literal requirements for human survival. If they are not met, the human body cannot continue to survive. Although Maslow's hierarchy is incomplete (including the fact that it does not include man's need for God) it does speak to those natural elements that cause man to worry and become anxious.
Nothing creates anxiety like the worry of running out of food, shelter, or basic provision.
This is why Jesus addresses this issue head-on during His Sermon on the Mount. He states in Matthew 6:25, "Therefore I say to you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" As if that were not enough, He continues in verse 26 to challenge us to look at the birds of the air and learn from them.
What can we learn from birds?
Jesus states, "For they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them." Whoa, you mean birds do not work, yet our God feeds them? Now isn't this a violation of God's economic principles of sowing and reaping? The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in II Thessalonians 3:10b, that "If anyone will not work, neither should he eat." God Himself states in Genesis 3:19a: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground."
Why does God give birds preferential treatment? He does not. Jesus is teaching us about a law higher than the law of sowing and reaping: the law of sovereignty.
The law of sovereignty is God's complete authority and power over His entire universe.
The way laws work is that any law can be overridden by a higher law. For instance, according to one law, it is illegal to drive past a red traffic light. However, if there is a policeman driving his car with his siren on, not only can he pass the red light without recourse, but you are also to move past the red light and make way for him (if you are blocking his car). One law takes a higher authority over the another.
The law of sowing and reaping states that if a man will not work (sow), he shall not eat (reap). The law of sovereignty, however, states that God has authority and rule over the entire creation, and He will provide for anyone He chooses in any way He chooses.
The lesson here is that, if God can feed a non-working bird that is not made in His image and likeness, then how much can God care for you and me, who not only are made in His image and likeness, but also work to bring Him glory?
Why did Jesus use this example? I imagine that He was ministering to people who were worried about their provision, not necessarily because they were not willing to work, but perhaps because they could not find jobs as a result of discrimination towards Jews in a Roman colony.
In their day, just like today, there was possibly limited job availability. Maybe there were people who had jobs, but who were not making enough money to meet their basic needs. As one of my friends puts it, they had more days in the month than they had money. I am sure that there were businessmen in His midst who were unfairly and heavily taxed, which impacted their profitability. Some may have been forced to close their businesses, and others may have faced low demand since customers themselves were economically challenged.
People must have asked Jesus, "How will we feed ourselves and our families? How will we pay our workers and pay our expenses?" Jesus did not respond with a cold rebuke, "work harder." No, he responded by saying, "Do not worry; do not be anxious; do not take the problem into your own hands. God has not forsaken you; man does not live by bread alone."
To illustrate His point, He pointed to the birds of the air. God, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, the Sustainer of life, the Creator of all things, the Faithful Wonder Himself feeds them.
- El Elyon - the Lord most high,
- El Shaddai- the God who is sufficient for the needs of His people,
- Jehovah Elohim - the Eternal Creator
- El Olam - the Everlasting God,
- Jehovah Jireh - the Lord our Provider,
- Jehovah Shalom - the Lord our Peace,
- Jehovah Shammah - the Lord is present,
- Jehovah Rohi - the Lord our Shepherd,
- Jehovah Huseenu - the Lord our Maker,
- Jehovah Eloheenu - the Lord our God,
He cares for them! And he cares for you.
Now if God takes care of birds that do not work, what about you and me who are not only created in His image and likeness, but whose difficulty is not as a result of slothfulness on our part or even our lack of a desire to work? Will God not take care of us in the midst of circumstances outside our control? Even if our circumstances are due to mistakes on our part, we serve a God who is merciful, kind, gentle, generous, forgiving and who works all things "together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)."
How are you doing? Have you lost your job? Is revenue down? Are you worried about meeting your needs, meeting payroll, or paying the bills? Follow Jesus' instructions: look at the birds of the air and know that you have more value than they do.
My prayer for you is that "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)." Think about His goodness in the morning and thank Him for His faithfulness as you lay down at night.
He will take care of you.
Reflection: List down three actions you can take today to move from lack to His provision by taking a step of faith in Him?
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Contribution by: Patrice Tsague – NPIM