Tag Archives: hunger

Consider the Birds: On being an opportunistic feeder

Have you ever noticed that when you sprinkle seed onto a bird table, in no time at all, loads of birds show up?  I always find myself wondering “How on Earth did they know?”

I know nothing at all about birds, so when I felt that God was giving me this postcard to paint for this week I was a bit stumped. But it was definitely the right picture,  so I did what any other person would do… I asked google!

It turns out that lots of other people have asked this question too, and although there’s no definitive answer, two theories seemed to emerge:

Birds have great eyesight and they’re constantly watching for food.

Birds let each other know when they find something good and plentiful.

 

So I’ve been simmering those thoughts away, and asking myself a couple of questions:

What does it mean for me as a follower of Jesus to be ‘constantly watching for food’?

‘Food’ is anything that sustains you and helps you to grow.  So it could probably be many different things: teaching; wisdom; reading the Bible; praying or worshipping with friends; or escaping to somewhere quiet to be alone with God.  You might find it at a certain times of day or at a certain place; at church services; in a person; at prayer meetings; on the internet; or in a book.

The thing I’m really hearing God say to me through this picture is that he’s calling me to be like a bird: an opportunistic feeder.

Birds will return to a place where they’ve been fed before, but will always be on the lookout for more.  They are picky about what they will eat, but eat from a variety of sources.  Ever watchful,  if an opportunity comes their way to take on board things that will give them energy and help them to grow they will take it.    This speaks to me about flexibility, alertness and also my own responsibility to seek after God’s provision for me:  For a bird, maturity is to go out there and look for your own nutrition… not to stay where you are and wait to be fed!

How can I let others know about the feast?

I was amused to read that some birds live as part of a community and let each other know where food is to be found… by tweeting. Smirking aside, there’s a message here too – It’s much easier to find out about places to eat, to grow and be strong, when we are part of a community.  And taking an active part in seeing other people in our community get ‘spiritually fed’ is an important part of what we are called to be.  This too will look different for everyone.  Sometimes it will be choosing to breathe words of life and encouragement over people; sometimes it will be sharing a link to a worship song on Facebook; it might be recommending a book, it might be writing one. Find a way that works for you.

 

‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’

Maybe for some of us this is also a challenge to call others who don’t yet know Jesus to come and join in the feast. A bit of ‘tweeting’ about how good and sweet life with Jesus can be might be in order!

 

birdsfeedingfeat

 

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For your Journal:

Think about the ways and places you ‘find food’?  In what ways can you pay more attention to them, or how could you look for new ‘food sources’?

How can you let others know about the feasts you find?  Who in your life could you ‘call to”?

 

And finally…  Writing this blog is like throwing seeds onto the bird table… Thank you to every one of you who has shown up to taste it, and has called friends in to have some too.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.   Ellie x

Immeasurably More

Please, may I have some more?

There’s something quite awkward about asking for more…   And that awkwardness often stops me from asking.  Somehow the vision of a grubby little boy with an empty bowl swims into my mind.  But before I find myself humming songs from Oliver…

To be clear, I’m not talking about material wealth here,  although it may for many be quite reasonable to ask for more of that..  Today though, I’m thinking about other things I’d like more of:  faith, wisdom, passion, courage, forgiveness, healing, ability to receive God’s love, love for others, a sense of the presence of God…

But for some reason I find coming to God and saying “please, I want more” really difficult.   I feel I should stand back and let others go ahead of me.  Asking for more when I have already received so much from God feels greedy.  Worse than that it makes me feel as though I’m somehow not grateful enough for what I’ve already been given.

(Also, written on the wallpaper inside my head is a little sign that says “It’s not OK to ask for stuff” which applies in a million other situations, not just this one. – God and I are in the process of rubbing this -and some others-out, but that’s probably another postcard)

But for each of us, it is without question true that God has more for us in our relationship with Him.  More understanding, more faith, more peace, more presence, more.  And his pockets don’t hold a limited amount:  If he gives to me it doesn’t mean that someone else will miss out, if he’s already given me some faith I don’t have to say “OK thank you that will do”.   This isn’t a tea party at a little friend’s house my friends,  you don’t have to smile a polite smile and say “thank you, that was lovely, I’m full up now”.

I wonder what you hear from God when you look at this postcard of the ocean.  Every time I stand by the sea I think about this…  I scoop up as much water as I can hold in my hands and I think “this is how much of God’s presence, power and peace I have experienced so far’… and then I look up at the sea.

The difference between the water I can hold in my hands and the contents of the mediterranean… and then the atlantic is beyond my ability to comprehend.  It’s extraordinary to even to try to think about it.

That’s how much more there is to explore of God my friends, that’s how much more he has for you.

Immeasurably more.

You just need to ask.

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I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV

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For your journal:  What do you want to ask God for ‘more’ of?   What stops you from asking?

Fast cars and a plastic ballerina

What do an Aston Martin and a plastic ballerina have in common?  Well…

This week I was reading again that one of the keys to experiencing the presence of God in our lives is to be hungry for him.  And a big part of me said. “Yes, yes, yes” but a small but significant part of me said “But, I’m soooo tired, I just don’t have the energy to get more hungry.”

And then God reminded me about the plastic ballerina and the Aston Martin…

Continue reading Fast cars and a plastic ballerina