One day this past week, I got up a little earlier than usual and to keep from waking up the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage I got my coffee and went to the back porch to enjoy a quiet early morning.
As I sat on the back porch drinking my coffee and taking in the early morning atmosphere, I noticed a bunch of birds sitting on the fence in the backyard. They were squawking at me as though I was the worst person in their world. I believe what they were screaming about was that I had not filled the bird feeder yet.
I screeched back at them and they only looked at me quizzically and kept on squawking. Obviously, they could not understand my accent.
Watching them for a few moments, I began to think. That is a very dangerous thing to do, especially so early in the morning and especially with a hot cup of coffee in your hand.
I began thinking about the fact that whenever I put the feed in the bird feeder none of the birds ever come and thank me for it. However, when I do not put feed in the birdfeeder they squawk and yell at me as though I had committed the unpardonable sin.
That’s gratitude for you.
I tried explaining that I would put feed in the bird feeder when I got around to it. But right now, I explained, I’m just enjoying a quiet moment with my cup of coffee. Now, could you just leave me alone for a moment? And, quit all this fowl language.
I took another long sip of coffee and began reflecting more about this and how this was very typical of people. They complain when they don’t get what they want, but when they get what they want to get rarely do they thank anybody. Their assumption is that they deserve what they want.
It reminded me of an incident in the life of Jesus when he healed 10 lepers. Only one of those lepers ever came back to thank Jesus for what he did. That seems to be very typical.
How much of what I expect do I really deserve?
Thinking about this brought me to the place of trying to figure out some little plot against these birds in my backyard. If they are not thankful for what I give them and if they are screeching at me when they do not get what they want, what could I do to get even with these little feathered rascals?
As I continued sipping my coffee, my brain was running at high speed trying to figure out how I could trick these birds into being a little more appreciative of what I do for them. After all, if I did not feed them they would not get fed.
One thought I had was I could put feed in the bird feeder and then tape shut all of the openings so that they could see the feed but they couldn’t get to it. I liked that idea. Oh, how it would make them so aggravated to see all that food there and not able to get to it.
The more I thought about this idea the more devious my thinking became.
What if I would build something, like a trap, and put feed in the inside so that when they tried to get to it they would be trapped and could not get out. I could watch them and laugh and laugh and laugh.
They could not get to the feed and they could not get out of the feeder. Oh, how I like that idea.
Soon my mind was putting out plot after plot getting even with these rascally, feathered minions teaching them a lesson or two. I was so impressed with all of these plots that I had to get a paper and pencil and start jotting them down. This was serious with me.
Suddenly, I heard a quiet voice from inside the door saying, “What are you doing so early?”
Looking around, there my wife stood at the door looking at me with the strangest of looks. I have seen strange looks from her, but this was the strangest.
It shocked me back into reality and for a brief moment, I almost told her what I was doing. I knew if I did that, I would be in deep trouble.
Coming up with a fresh plot I simply said, “I’m just enjoying the quietness of the morning.”
“I think,” she said, “I’ll come out and join you and together we can enjoy the quietness of the morning.”
All my thoughts and plots came to an abrupt end.
Then she said, “I wonder why those birds over there on that fence are looking this way and squawking?”
For a moment I thought I would explain it to her, but then I figured out she probably would not get the whole story. Or at least, she would wonder why in the world I was talking to birds. Then she would suggest that it was because I had a “birdbrain.” That suggestion has come up quite a few times.
The apostle Paul stated it this way, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
When my thoughts focus on Christ, it lifts me above my circumstances.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.