26 “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 of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
Some years it seems like winter skips us altogether here in our part of the Deep South. My son always said that you can tell that you’re growing up in Mississippi when you spend Christmas Day playing outside shoeless and shirtless with the toys that Santa brought! Most winters are so mild that many people here don’t really own a winter coat. You can usually get by with just a heavy jacket.
But this past winter has been an exception to that rule. We missed so many snow days (and ice days) at school that we’ve had to forfeit some of our later holidays to make them up. And we had several weeks of damp, disagreeable cold—you know, the kind that gets in your bones and causes you to ache. The kind that makes you feel like you may never thaw out again. Everybody that I’ve talked to has been looking forward to warmer weather.
Well, springtime is finally here, and we are enjoying a beautiful spring morning here at the country church. The grass is coming up green, and the trees are blooming pink and white. Our two barking-dogs, Billy and Thaddeus, are sunning themselves today in the clover patch outside our kitchen window. (We keep them around to announce if someone we don’t know drives up at night. They eat dry food and table scraps. Sort of an inexpensive security system.)
The parsonage cats, Marvin and Sister, are longingly watching the yard dogs through the storm door, wishing that they could go out and enjoy the sunshine. (Alas, it is not to be. The cats have been de-clawed, so they will have to remain indoors.)
And there are birds everywhere this year. Last week at the office we had hundreds of a type of bird I had never seen before. They swarmed in huge flocks, and when anyone approached the tree they were all in, they would leave that tree (in a great rush of flapping and wind) and all fly to another tree. It was quite startling (and beautiful).
The birds of springtime reminded me of a story that I heard that I want to share this morning. It seems that there were once two sparrows sitting on a telephone line. The two little birds had a wonderful vantage point from which they could watch all the people in the city scurrying to and fro as they went about their busy lives.
One of the sparrows said, “Have you noticed how unhappy all of the humans are? They are always in a hurry, and their faces always look sad and worried. I wonder why their lives are so bad?”
The other sparrow said, “Oh, don’t you know why they’re unhappy? People aren’t like us birds. They don’t have a Heavenly Father like we have who takes care of them!”
Well, today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) makes it clear that the sparrows in the story are correct about one thing. Jesus clearly taught that the Heavenly Father takes care of the birds. In fact, in another place, the Saviour says that not a single sparrow can fall to the ground apart from the Father’s will (Matthew 10:29).
But on another account, the birds are completely wrong. The same Heavenly Father who cares for the birds takes care of people, too. And Jesus said that we are more valuable than many birds….
Dear mamas, let’s get this new season of springtime off to a smashing start! Give thanks for the beauty of the earth, and entrust the cares of each day into the hands of your Heavenly Father who loves you!
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the people know that since Spring is here, Easter can’t be far behind.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to email@example.com.