In Eugene Peterson’s amazing translation/paraphrase of the Bible, called The Message, Matthew 6:26 reads “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count for more to him than birds.” Ken Gire once wrote a wonderful response to this. He said: “’Careless in the care of God.’ And why shouldn’t they be? For their food, He provides insects in the air, seeds on the ground. For their search for food, He provides eyes that are keen, wings that are swift. For their drinking, He provides poolings of rainwater. For their bathing, He provides puddles. For their survival, He provides migratory instincts to take them to warmer climates. For their flight, He provides bones that are porous and lightweight. For their warmth, He provides feathers. For their dryness, He provides a water-resistant coating. For their rest, He provides warm updrafts so they can glide through the air. For their journey, He provides the company of other travelers. For their return, He provides the companionship of a mate. For their safety, He provides a perch in branches far from the reach of predators. For their nest, He provides twigs. And for every newborn beak, He provides enough worms so that they can grow up to leave the nest and continue the cycle of life. It’s no wonder they’re so free from the cares of this world. The wonder is, if we count more to Him than birds, why aren’t we?”
When I read these words earlier this morning I have to admit I was convicted. Lately I’ve been worried about a lot of things and the word “careless” would definitely not describe me at this point in my life. Jesus’ instructions to “look at the birds” was one of his ways of trying to get his followers not to worry so much. He encouraged them to look around and pay close attention to the birds and the wildflowers that grew nearby. Both, he said, serve as reminders that God takes care of them and provides what they need. Jesus then informed these followers that God cares even more for them and they shouldn’t worry, for if God meets the needs of the birds and flowers God will assuredly meet their needs as well.
I love the way Ken Gire lays out for us the many ways God provides for the birds. He lists so many ways and I’m sure others could be added to his list. Surely the recognition that God goes out of His way to care for the birds ought to be enough to make us pause when anxious thoughts come our way. Hopefully it will help me worry a whole lot less and move me to the point where I am “careless in the care of God.”
(I took the pictures shown above at Henderson Sloughs Wildlife Management Area.)