Merriam Webster defines “bird brain” as a stupid person or scatterbrain. Perhaps somewhat unfairly, as many birds are quite intelligent. But that thought came to mind the other day as I watched a chickadee feeding at a small feeder outside my window. On that day, the cute little chickadee was determined to get the large nuts that were behind the glass. He attempted to peck through the glass instead of eating the food on the tray.
A true “bird brain” I thought to myself.
Bird Brained Me
Mind you, I enjoy watching birds feed because they remind me of one of my favorite pieces of scripture.
Look at the birds of 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?
– Matthew 6:26 (NIV)
Yet on that day, I was filled with pride as I considered how much smarter I was than that frustrated little bird.
This morning, during my quiet time, I watched three finches fighting over another feeder. It occurred to me, are we that much different from the birds?
The chickadee was focused on the seed in the glass cylinder. He ignored the seed in the tray. What was to come, apparently the choicest seeds, were the object of his focus. How often do we do this? God asks us to be thankful for His provisions, but we focus on the promise for the future. I know I have done this. Every time that God shows me my path, I ask Him to hurry and get me there. I stop being grateful for what I have today and, like a child expecting Christmas morning, focus on what is coming.
Perhaps that is why God only shows me the next few days or the next few hours. He knows my weakness. He knows my tendency to mortgage the present for the future. Perhaps I should hold on to the rest of Christ’s words in Matthew 6:
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life or single cubit to your height? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
– Matthew 6:27-34 (NIV)
“Do not worry about tomorrow”. I have always taken that to suggest I should not stress about the future, to be confident in God’s provision. Perhaps we are not to even consider tomorrow. God’s plan is for eternity. He considered every second of every day, from before we are born until we join Him. Why then do we rush to the future? Why not simply relax in the present and rejoice in our many blessings? How undeserving we are of God’s grace and mercy. Yet we yearn for what is next.
Manna From Heaven
God provided for Moses and the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. God could have provided vast stores of food at one time, but instead provided just enough for each day. The Israelites were to gather food each day in the morning (except on Sabath). Why did God do it this way? To remind the Israelites of their dependence upon God, and to test their obedience (those that gathered too much, in an effort to prepare for tomorrow on their own, paid a price).
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
– Exodus 16:17-20 (NIV)
When we look to the future and ignore the present, we are insulting God. We are ignoring the many blessings of today in search of the blessings of tomorrow.
- Do you tend to focus on the future and ignore today?
- How do you keep your focus on the present?
- How do you remain aware of God’s provision and blessings daily?