The speaker stood up to lead the contribution on Sunday morning. I have struggled for a while now with the passing of the contribution plates, because I never feel like I give enough. We have been living on a shoe string budget for so long, and I just feel like my measly little donation is inadequate compared to what Christ has done for me. In life, I have felt like I have been on the receiving end so many times. I look forward to (and pray for) a day when I can give to others as they have given to me. I think that’s why the speaker’s message struck me.
Matthew 6:26 says, “Consider the birds in the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
I have always thought about that verse as saying that the birds don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, and if they don’t have to worry, we shouldn’t either. I still think that is what was meant by this verse. However, the speaker I heard brought up another good point.
Have you ever seen geese migrating? They fly in a V formation. They do this because they are drafting. The lead bird is doing most of the work, while the ones in the back are not working as hard. Then, when the lead bird gets tired, he falls back and another takes the lead.
This is how it is in a church family, a physical family or a circle of friends. Sometimes, one person seems to be doing the leading, whether it is through their financial donations, through their time they are giving or through their resources they are using. Meanwhile, other members are benefiting from their work. Then, when the lead person gets tired or gets sick or runs out of money or resources, another person steps up to take the lead. It’s amazing how many times in church you see a new family move into the area just in time to take over a ministry that is faltering. God knows what he is doing.
Many years ago, I think I was one of the lead birds. I don’t mean that in a bragging way. It’s just a fact. I was involved in just about every way possible in church. I cooked for others. I hosted showers for others. I taught others’ children. I sent cards and made visits to others. I did for others non-stop. Then, one day, I got tired (more accurately, I got emotionally hurt, and we became financially broke all around the same time), and I had to fall back. Other birds took the lead, and I began benefiting from their work. Over the years, they have cooked for me and taught my kids and sent me cards. They gave us tools when ours burned, and they have given us money and help when needed.
I have felt guilty that I have received so much instead of giving. I have looked back at the time that I was able to give and to do, and I have wondered what is wrong with me now. I have thought that I am failing because I am not able to lead and to give and to do like I was then. However, the illustration about the birds helped me to realize that it’s okay. I don’t have to be in the lead all the time. That’s what it means to be part of a church family. That little 5 minute blurb before passing the contribution plates has helped me so much! The guilt of receiving from others has been replaced with the knowledge that someday, I’ll be the one giving again.
I think this illustration applies to our lives in many ways, whether we are talking about our church family, our physical family or our friends. There will be times that we will b
So, if you are feeling like the bird in the back of the flock, and you are feeling down on yourself, stop it! Just know that you are resting up so that when the lead bird gets tired, you can soar. -Al