First the cardinal couple came to dine. They spend their time in the trough with the seed. The suet is not their cup of tea, so to speak, but several others seem to prefer it A hummingbird came and hovered next to it, trying his best to figure out how to get the nectar out of it, but finally gave up and flew back to the hummingbird feeder on the other side of the house.
Then the catbird came calling. He stood under it, with the bottom of it just out of reach. First, he tried the hummingbird’s trick, but a catbird cannot hover, he quickly found out as he fell with a splat into the trough. Then he started jumping up and down, trying to peck when he reached the height of his jump, once again falling into the trough, this time nearly doing a backward somersault. Poor bird, I hope he didn’t hear me laughing at him, but you never think about a bird being so awkward as to fall on his backside. Maybe he did hear me, because he left and did not come back for a long time.
The next morning I looked out and a wren had landed on top of the hanging suet and calmly leaned down, pecking away. Every so often he looked around as if to say, “See? This isn’t so hard.” After a few days he had pecked away most of his sure-footing. The top of the suet was no longer flat, so gradually one foot would slide down and hang onto the side. Every morning he pecked away until finally there was no room at all on the top and both feet clung to the side of the suet. Then came the day he got a little too self-confident. I looked out and he was hanging upside down from the bottom of the suet. His little feet curled in tightly and deeply and he seemed to have a good hold, but he had not reckoned with his desire to eat. He pecked so hard that he pushed himself off the suet and he, too, landed on his back in the trough. Was he embarrassed? No way. He just hopped back up on the side and kept pecking. There are things more important than saving face.
Along came a little gray titmouse with his gray crest, big ringed eye, and the slimmest breast I had ever seen on a bird. He too, figured out how to land on the suet, hang on, and peck. Then one morning the suet cylinder fell and lay across the trough. Here comes the catbird ready for an easy meal. The titmouse arrived shortly after and must have known something about catbirds. He sat in the azalea and squealed ferociously until he finally scared the catbird away. As soon as the titmouse had eaten and left, the big coward came back, but not long afterward the cardinal couple flew at him and off he went again.
All of this makes me think about our efforts to feast on the bread of life. Do we mind looking a little foolish sometimes in our eagerness to learn and grow spiritually? Do we give up after one or two tries if things are more difficult than we expected? Are we too frightened to admit we live on the Word of God—afraid we won’t be accepted by our peers, afraid we will be ridiculed, afraid no one will like us any more, afraid it may cost us socially, economically, or maybe some day, even physically?
The little birds at my feeder teach me profound lessons every day. Sometimes I need a prod to be more like the feisty little titmouse or the ingenious little wren who couldn’t care less how his hunger for suet makes him look. Sometimes I need to be reminded that there are more important things than what everyone thinks about me, and that fear of others can make you look the most ridiculous of all. Indeed, if a tiny little titmouse can scare away a big old catbird all by himself, why can’t I make Satan’s minions run away, especially with all the Help I have at hand?
As newborn babes long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that you may grow thereby unto salvation, 1 Pet 2:2.