We try to keep two feeders full most of the year. We are aware that the birds have other places to eat. Other feeders, flowers gone to seed, fields with seed in the harvesting process. We are also aware that we may be creating bad bird habits, teaching them to depend on us rather than learn to forage for themselves. On the other hand, eating at our feeders may be part of foraging. We are one of many places, we are being helpful.
But I’m not debating avian codependency. While I was filling the bird feeders, I was also thinking about the course I’m teaching. We’ll be reading all of the Sermon on the Mount in our next class.
At one point in that teaching, Jesus encourages his followers to seek the Kingdom of God rather than worrying about food and drink. He uses the metaphor of 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?”
As I was feeding the birds that pass through our yard, I thought, “What if I’m part of how the heavenly Father feeds them?” Not that He doesn’t have many ways, but for these birds, for this geography, in this season, I am part of that feeding plan.
Which made me begin to wonder: “What people I am also being prompted to feed?”
In the rest of that conversation about worry and provision, Jesus invites us to pursue the kingdom of God rather than pursuing clothing and food. And, he says, the rest of our needs will be provided.
I can’t help thinking that for some of us, pursuing the kingdom of God means caring for others, and that is how God is intending for the others to be fed.
A couple other places to eat, written by friends of mine: