I recently read a few pages of a book published by Reader’s Digest, Exploring the Secrets of Nature. As much as I know about the natural world, I always feel like there is more to learn. I have always been fascinated by animal behavior, especially how and why animals do what they do.
The book is written like a collection of “articles,” organized by themes. The first four articles I read were about animals risking everything to spawn or lay eggs. Of course, many members of these species don’t survive the journey and a lot of their young also die. But somehow, enough of them survive to keep the species going year after year.
God’s fingerprints are there, even in the common and the mundane. [Tweet that!]
The way the system works is incredible. Hungry animals hover along beaches or next to streams, waiting for this species of turtle or fish or whatever it may be to work its way upstream onto shore, lay its eggs, and provide the hungry predator with a necessary meal.
I experienced this a few years ago while kayaking the Poca River near my home. It was early fall and I found myself rowing on top of a massive school of minnows, possibly hundreds of thousands of them, swimming quickly downstream toward the much larger (and warmer) Kanawha River. As they swam, a group of kingfishers swept down one by one and expertly scooped tiny minnows into their mouth. I had never seen so many kingfishers near the river before, so I marveled that they must be gathering to fill their bellies with minnows.
I wondered what if the minnows weren’t there? Would the birds find somewhere else to feed? Or would they starve? And what of the minnows? How many of them would be picked off before reaching the Kanawha? Enough to threaten their species? Do the kingfishers ever worry about starving? Do the minnows ever worry about the elimination of their entire species?
This all recalls a metaphor Jesus used in Matthew 6 in which he addresses the concerns many of his followers have about money and giving to the needy. Jesus says:
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.
Why do you have so little faith?”
That final question bites hard enough that I feel it in my heart. And I’m certain Jesus’s audience that day also felt it. I’ve written before about enjoying the comforts of Christianity without sacrificing much of anything. Comfort is one of those things with me and it usually comes from a fear that I might lose everything.
It is easy to justify this fear. I have more than myself to think about. I can’t just walk around, not thinking about whether my children are okay. I worry that I might say or do something foolish to upset my wife. I’m concerned that my performance at work isn’t enough to keep me employed for much longer. I think… I worry… I’m concerned.
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Jesus challenges my faith everyday. The deeper I get into scripture, the more aware of life I become. Stories abound of threats to the environment, climate change, pollution. And yet I still see God providing for even the tiniest creature on this earth. A tiny bud sprouting after a forest fire. A fawn finding a new family after its mother was struck by a car. A group of kingfishers feasting on minnows from a threatened river.
Life sustains and life remains. That is the fingerprint of God. [Tweet that!]
So what do we have to worry about? Each day comes with its challenges, of course. Jesus isn’t saying that life will be without threats or hardships. What he is saying is much more profound.
We need to trust God with our lives.
We need to let go of worry, concern, and doubt. Instead, Jesus says:
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Why do you have so little faith? Seek the Kingdom of God above all else…
And he will give you everything you need.