We’ve found nests in boxes of empty mason jars in the shed, and on the lawn mower seat under its protective tarp. We’ve found them on the bristles of the push broom which hangs upside down near the ceiling of the carport. We’ve found them in roof gutters, and draped plastic sheeting. We’ve found them in flower pots, tomato vines, and empty buckets.
We usually buy dog food in 50 lb bags at the feed store and keep it stored in a large plastic garbage can in the shed. We carry Chloe’s daily allotment in an old three pound coffee can, which we then shove sideways on the handlebars of the old exercise bike until the next day’s feeding. Last month we found a wren’s nest in that can, obviously built after Chloe had been fed the day before, hanging precariously, rocking in the breeze.
Immediately Keith duct-taped it more securely to the handlebars so it couldn’t be blown or jostled off, and found another old can to use for Chloe’s feed. It has become something of a joke now—remember to put up the [whatever] before the wrens find it.
This doesn’t happen just once a year. The mother wren incubates the eggs for about 2 weeks and then both parents feed them until they can fly, about two weeks later. Often, the last few days of feeding, the father takes over completely so the mother can start another nest. In our climate, they often build a third nest after that one. They are like little nest-building machines—wherever they can, whenever then can.
Isn’t that the way we should be about the gospel? Too many times we’re out there making judgments about where to sow the seed instead of strewing it about everywhere we can. We decide who will and who won’t listen and worse, who we deem “worthy” to hear.
That certainly isn’t what Jesus did. He taught dishonest businessmen and immoral women. He taught the upper class and the lowest of the low. He taught the diseased and the disabled, as well as the hale and hearty blue collar workers. He taught people who wanted to hear and people who just wanted to make trouble for him. Shouldn’t we be following his example?
Too many times we worry about the reception we will get. When Jesus sent out the seventy, he didn’t say, “If you don’t think they’ll listen, then shake the dust off your feet and go elsewhere.” What he said was, “If they don’t listen,” which means everyone had a chance to decline if that is what they chose to do. We can’t seem to stand the possibility of rejection, not an auspicious trait for disciples of the one who was “despised and rejected of men.”
We should be like wrens, speaking about our faith anywhere, even the most unlikely places, to anyone, even the most unlikely people. Over and over and over, like we can’t help ourselves, like our lives depended upon it, because maybe they do.
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Acts 20:26-27.