In the winter sparrows invade my yard, swarming the feeders like ants. It is nothing unusual for 15 or so to cover the trough by the window, while half a dozen more sit in the azaleas waiting for an opening. Meanwhile, thirty to forty hop along the ground, flitting back and forth to the smaller hanging feeders, which sway from the impetus of their continual take-offs. After several frosts the brown and black grass successfully camouflages their drab brown and gray feathers. I can only tell they are there because frosted off grass doesn’t ordinarily move, but that grass literally writhes.
Brown and gray—drab colors compared to the brilliant red cardinals, the bright yellow goldfinches, the contrasting red and yellow bars on the blackbird’s wing. Even the brown of the Carolina wren is comparatively bright, and the stark contrasts of the zebra-striped black and white warbler perched pecking at the suet cage draws your eye far sooner than the mousy little sparrow.
But someday you should sit at my window when one of them lands on the trough not six inches from your nose. Up close the intricate patterns on their wings suddenly turn those drab colors into a source of wonder and delight. Like delicate lace, the brown and gray sections, outlined by white and spotted with black, will keep your attention for a half hour or more as you struggle to discern the pattern God has placed in their tiny feathers. No artist could have created anything so exquisite, especially using those colors.
And what about you? God can take your drab colors and create a creature far beyond your imagination. He can take a miserable life and give it purpose, a sorrowful spirit and make it joyous, a selfish heart and tenderize it with compassion. He can take a soul overwhelmed by the darkness of sin and make it bright with the reflection of its Savior.
There is nothing drab about the life of a Christian. God can make even the most ordinary person extraordinary. We have no need for garish colors, for manmade ornament, or the laurels of worldly praise. We know who we are—new creatures, “created in Christ Jesus for good works,” each of us beautiful in His glory. If all you see are drab colors, you just haven’t gotten close enough.
…Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and…be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness, Eph 4:22-24.