A few weeks ago we had another two day visitor—a woodcock. He’s an odd-looking fellow, a foot long or less, with a chunky body, a striped head and a long thin bill. He looks a bit like a bent old man with a cane. I watched as he walked around the foot of the feeder, poking that bill into the ground again and again like a baker checking for the doneness of her cake. Suddenly he plunged his beak to the hilt, then began pumping away. He’s found something, I thought, and sure enough he began to pull up a long black worm. The worm did its best to hold onto the last clod of dirt, stretching like melted cheese on a pizza, but eventually he popped out and the woodcock downed him in the blink of an eye. The next day the woodcock was gone too, another sojourner on his way home.
We sing a song: “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.” Is that how we really feel? Those migrating birds have no problem leaving behind feeders full of seeds that magically replenish themselves. They’re here and gone without a thought for what’s left behind. Even the grosbeaks who stay long enough to build a nest and raise a few chicks will up and leave as soon as the task is accomplished.
And what do we do but spend our time, money, and effort on the temporary with little thought for the eternal. We don’t just build a nest, we build a monument. “This is where someone like me ought to be living and this is the type of house I ought to have in the neighborhood I ought to have it.” Would we spend that much time, money, and effort on a motel room? Because that’s all this world is. How about spending that much time, money, and effort on the treasure in heaven?
You’re just a goldfinch passing though for a couple of days. Even the birds know where home really is.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Heb 11:13-16)