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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Feeding the Flock

There is nothing more beautiful
than the bright red male cardinal.
I love my bird feeders. I can sit for hours and watch the birds - and other critters attracted by free food - coming to the feeders. When we moved back in January, one of the things I couldn't wait to do was get the feeders up. I found a very picturesque spot in the yard. I bought new seed. I filled the feeders and hung them out. And waited....and waited....and waited....   Nothing. Occasionally, one lone cardinal would grace the feeder for a few seconds and then he was off.

Now that we have been in the house for a few months, I began to notice something. Just a few feet away from the feeders, is an area with a large hedge - almost a little wooded area on the edge of the yard. The thing is full of birds. I know, I know... its not that far for them to fly to get to where the feeder is. But they don't. So finally, I moved the feeders. Within an hour, there were multiple birds that were on the feeders and on the ground under it. The only thing I can figure is they feel safer closer to the trees.

How often do we make the same mistakes when we are trying to reach out to those around us for Jesus? We have very picturesque churches, we offer wonderful programs and Bible studies, we sincerely invite people to come. And then we wait...and wait...and wait.... And occasionally someone will come in and partake, but we know there are so many more out there that are missing out. If only they would come....

Matthew 28:19-20 "GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

We have to move the feeder. Church is a wonderful place and I wouldn't trade my Bible Study group for the world. But there are people out there who just aren't going to come to church first - we have to go get them. We have to take the food to them.

Note his precarious perch.
Right after I took this he fell off backwards!
I read in a book on birds once, that you put the feeder first in a location where they feel safe and will come to the food. Then you can start to slowly move the feeder away from their habitat about a foot at a time and they will follow it. What an awesome picture of how we need to reach our community and the world. Take them the gospel - where they feel safe. Then invite them to an outside activity. Keep working on them and eventually, they will come. And, of course, somewhere in the process, we pray they come to Jesus most of all.

Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep. I don't think He meant for Peter to sit in the barn and wait for the sheep to come to him. So let's go feed those birds...sheep...you know what I mean. Let's go take the food to the flocks!

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